The Student News Site of Prospect High School


The Student News Site of Prospect High School


The Student News Site of Prospect High School


Speech team handles influx of new members

By Gina O’Neill
Executive Opinion Editor

Photo by Mika Evans
Photo by Mika Evans

 Room 238 was more than crowded. People took a seat on the desks and on the window sills, bunched around the stage like a crowd at a Taylor Swift concert  and stood around the room, with no other place to go.

 With the speech team’s theme song,” Public Speaking,” blaring in the background, people consumed marshmallows, shared hugs and talked energetically before two of the team’s captains, seniors Evelyn Smith and Laura Winters, started the meeting.

“You can’t explain that energy,” Speech Team coach Jeremy Morton said.


This year’s speech team swelled to 60 members, a flood larger than last year’s 20 members. 


 “We are not used to having a speech team this size,” Speech Team Coach Myers said. “But we do what we can.” 


According to Smith, not only are new freshmen joining this year, but juniors are joining for the first time, and seniors are readmitting themselves after joining freshman year and dropping out during their sophomore year, making Speech team “a mix.”


Coach Jon Kaminsky says that the amount of people makes it easier for more kids to find out about Speech Team, be a part of it and know so many people.

Freshman Ellen Blunck joined speech team this week because she regretted not signing up before when she was in the fall play, and she feels she “kind of belongs here.”

 “Seeing my friend [in speech team] I thought, ‘What am I doing? If I don’t do this, I’ll never know if [I’m] good at it. I can do this, too,'” Blunck said. “It gave me that extra push.”


 Blunck also feels that because Speech Team is something that a lot of people were participating in, including some of her friends, she was more compelled to join.  


Junior Becca Sajbel found out about Speech Team last year through friends and morning announcements and decided to join on a whim.


 “It’s a really fun thing to do; it’s a great way to get out of your shell and be a different person,” Sajbel said. “[You] feel free to express yourself around people you like and don’t feel like you’re being judged.”


  As more and more people are surfing Speech Team’s articulate wave  three people joined just this week  the team becomes more “pumped” for meetings and competitions, according to Morton.   


 Morton says that they used to have to wait for people to walk in to meetings, sign up or even show up if they were already members, but now their club is full of people who want to be there and are committed to the team. People bring in their friends, and those friends sometimes want to join, so it’s like they’re spending Saturday competitions and meetings with their friends.


  Yet, because of the limited space in the room and an unlimited amount of people, Morton feels kids might be prevented from getting to know everyone on the team, whereas when they had 20 members, that wasn’t an issue. According to Morton, it’s crucial that everyone knows each other on the team so that they can support each other. Therefore, Morton plans to have the students play improv games or “getting to know you” games during the meetings. 


The large quantity of members also forces the team to cut back on how long the coaches meet with the kids to practice their pieces. Additionally, people might not make it into whatever section they choose for the meet on Saturday because each section can only house three Prospect kids, and six or seven kids sometimes apply for only three slots.


However, these dilemmas allow for new interaction and exploration.


The captains and varsity members of the team now meet with the junior varsity and novice students to run through their pieces with them if they didn’t get a full rehearsal with one of the coaches. According to Smith, these practices are beneficial because students can relate more to other students.


Smith feels that while students can lean on each other for support, they also become more independent when there’s not enough time with a coach because they are taking it upon themselves to pick up pieces and practice individually.   


 “It encourages them to try new things,” Smith said.


 Although Morton knows the “inevitable will come,” where the team will have to narrow down the number of kids participating in each section, he feels OK about it, since it prompts them to work harder.  


 “Kids want to be a part of that narrow group,” Morton said.

Smith, Morton and Kaminsky all agree that the surge of students is overall positive.
 “It’s fantastic,” Smith said. “I’ve always been waiting for [Speech Team] to be something big. It’s so much potential, and I’m excited to see [them] grow in their talents.”
 “We love working with kids, those who want to be there and compete. [We want to] improve not just performers, but arguing, public speaking, thinking, reading and listening,” Morton said of him and the coaches. “[We] want them to leave [as] better people.”     
This week, Speech Team will compete in two tournaments instead of the usual one in order for there to be 100 competition slots open to members. Morton describes this as “overwhelming, but so exciting as a team.” 
  “I always dreamed of being a school where we have this problem,” Morton said.

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