This past Saturday, the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Speech Team competed in its fifth tournament of the season at the historic Hibbing High School.
While the tournament was typical in nature, the location was unique. The school, built in the early 20th century, is best known for graduating one of the nation’s most influential individuals — Bob Dylan. The beautiful brick building, inlaid with tile floors and fashioned with brass doorknobs, features a tribute to Dylan in a glass display case.
Among Dylan’s many other accomplishments, the display highlights his more recent Nobel Prize in literature. The school also features a recently-renovated 1,800 seat auditorium. The auditorium, modeled after the Capitol Theater in New York City, features $250,000 chandeliers with cut glass from Belgium, and a 1900s pipe organ from the Barton Organ Company.
The tournament in all other aspects was traditional. Speakers competed in three preliminary rounds, and the top six speakers in each category competed in a final round. WHA advanced seven speakers into a final round, and four others earned honorable mention.
Earning honorable mention were Madison Kenrick in Drama, Leo Burns in Humor, Sophia Landreville in Poetry and Logan Wales in Prose.
Speakers who broke into a final round and earned a medal were Molly Massar sixth in Prose and second in Creative, Katelyn DeLost third in Creative. Lily Burns sixth in Humor, Julia Schock second in Poetry, Willow Damar first in Poetry and Lily Pedersen first in Humor.
Overall the Walker Talkers placed fourth, behind Bemidji, Hermantown and Duluth East, who were first, second and third, respectively.
After five tournaments, the speech season is now in full swing. Speakers are competing at all different levels of preparedness and are moving slowly closer to polished performances. For WHA, speakers in seventh- through ninth-grade, their schedule is much busier compared to their senior high peers.
Over the next four weeks, in addition to attending varsity invitational tournaments on the weekends, they will also attend junior high tournaments. These tournaments are smaller in terms of competing speakers and speaking rounds, but give younger speakers the opportunity to compete exclusively with each other. While the tournaments provide excellent practice for the young speakers, they can be exhausting.
Tuesday night the junior high team competed at Cass-Lake, results not known when this issue went to press, and next week they will be at Pequot Lakes. The varsity team will have one less day of preparation this week as they get ready to compete at East Grand Forks Friday.