Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking. People with this become physically fatigued by the thought of talking to a public crowd. A way to overcome this fear is to join a speech team. By doing this, one can practice speaking and learn how to calm down in front of crowds. Many high schools have speech teams to help students learn the skills of public speaking. This year’s speech team at Mercy consists of 8-10 students. These girls write speeches and perform in either the interpretive events or the original events. The interpretive events include poetry, humorous, serious, duo/duet acting, and group oral drama. The original events consist of entertainment, informative, persuasive, impromptu, and extemporaneous speeches. Every Tuesday at 3:15 the team meets for an hour and a half practice. At these practices, they perform their speeches in front of the speech team coach, Mrs. Adams, and their peers. The girls then critique each other to improve their speeches and receive a better score in the competitions. Also, they look at judges ballots so that they know how to make their performances better. The team competes in tournaments at schools in the metro area and a few surrounding cities. At these tournaments, the competitors give their speeches in front of a panel of judges who rank them based on the strength of their speech and performance. Each tournament consists of 2-3 rounds divided into the subcategories. After the judges’ results are in,
they announce the scores of each speech. First, they are rated Superior, Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor. Once they are rated, they are ranked 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. If one’s speech is ranked and rated in the top 5-7, they will break to finals. Mrs. Adams said, “Breaking to finals is a BIG deal!”. Speech team members, in each category, will receive medals if they are a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place winner. Mercy alum, Casey Moyer ‘18, qualified for state her sophomore, junior, and senior years and Addie Costello ‘19 went to state her junior year. Going to state is an honor and a great way to represent your school. To qualify for state, students have to be one of the top 2 or 3 speakers in their District. State normally takes place on March 21, at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Giving speeches in front of people is something that many people are afraid of. Speech team members are very good at this and they know how to stay calm and collected.