By Isabelle Chen,HUB Staff Writer–
The Davis High School Speech and Debate team presented their first annual showcase on Friday, March 29 in the Brunelle Performing Arts Theater. The evening began with a silent auction in the lobby. Then, the group presented its finest award-winning pieces in categories such as humorous interpretation, impromptu speaking, original speeches, original oratory (in which a more research-based speech is recited) and debate.
Senior Emma Knoesen recited an original speech. “Mikaela’s Expression” is about the life of a teenage girl named Mikaela, who over time learns that friendship can help one overcome the worst of tragedies. Knoesen began writing this speech simply to try something different.
“I started last year,” Knoesen said. “I think I drew from my own experiences, but I also wanted to try a new type of event. [I had been doing] original oratory, which is more informative. I wanted to write a story.”
Sophomore Camila Ortiz also performed an original speech: an informative piece about our society’s obsession with the idea of a zombie apocalypse. The standout category of the night was humorous interpretation: taking a piece of comical literature and turning into a speech. Ortiz teamed up with sophomore Maxine Zhao to deliver a musical performance of the Disney Channel original series “Phineas and Ferb.” Senior Lindsay Brandt delivered an excerpt from the children’s book “Clementine,” and junior Eva Dicker presented “How to Survive in Corporate America,” complete with sound effects.
Junior Yoojin Shin performed a dramatic interpretation of “368 Friends,” in which a girl becomes disillusioned with the idea of having online friends she doesn’t even know. With this emotional piece, Shin became a semifinalist in the California High School Speech Association State Qualification Tournament. Finally, in the second-to-last presentation of the evening, juniors Han-ah Sumner and Maya Ichikawa-Lopez spoke about topics they received only minutes before. Sumner delivered a personal interpretation of the phrase “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence,” while Ichikawa-Lopez talked about the societal consequences of playing with Barbie dolls.
Knoeson, a senior captain who helped organize the event, compared the event to presentations that other groups and teams have presented.
“We wanted people to know what we did,” she said. “We put so much time and effort into our speeches. It’s like having the Mad[rigal] Dinner or the Jazz Choir Cabaret.”
Senior Anna Gong believes that the showcase was successful in that it garnered publicity for the Speech and Debate team. She is also glad that people attended the event, given its timing.
“It’s the Friday before spring break. This isn’t the type of thing people want to be doing right before spring break, but we got an audience, which is encouraging,” Gong said.
Gong ended the evening with a debate on gun control alongside senior Phil Glazer and juniors Rami Rashmawi and Don-Wook Shin. She said she did not prepare extensively, because the debate was supposed to be mostly impromptu. However, this debate was different from others Gong has presented.
“It was a little nerve-wracking, because it was the first time we were doing it in front of an audience. Usually it’s only in front of one person: the judge. [But] it actually wasn’t that bad. It was actually kind of fun!”
According to Knoesen, the funds from ticket sales and the silent auction will send the Speech and Debate coach, Janine Widman, to a $2,000 camp at the Stanford National Forensic Institute. They will also be used to send qualified student speakers to national and state tournaments and championships.