A speech tournament is a forum where the students get to show all that they practiced and worked for. It’s a competition with awards such as Finalists, First through Third Place (trophies or plaques), and cash scholarships for the first place winners in the Senior Division. Plenty of time is spent at Speech to prepare the new members of the Speech Team. However, nothing compares to being there!
Middle School speech tournaments have two separate competing divisions: Junior and Senior. Sixth and seventh graders make up the Junior Division, while eighth graders only make up the Senior Division. This means that the Junior Division is larger in most cases, as sixth graders and seventh graders are competing against each other. Eighth graders are only competing against their own grade level colleagues.
Speech tournaments of the size and quality St. Luke participates in, are, quite simply, adrenaline and excitement and team spirit all rolled up in one. Be prepared for the bug to bite, and then see for yourself! Parents, guardians, and friends of the students are welcome to come. But bring plenty of food and water and time… speech contests are thrilling, but start early in the morning and end with the awards’ ceremony in the early evening. But to stress again, because of the sheer number of events, teams, judges, and parents, etc., there is quite literally not a dull moment.
Historically, St. Luke Speech Team has participated in some of the largest and renowned Speech Tournaments in the area. The first, held at Bishop Blanchet, takes place between the first and second week of December. The precise date is announced early in the season, so plenty of time to prepare. The second tournament, Seattle Prep, follows soon after winter break, typically the second or third weekend in January. The third tournament in April is Eagles Nest Middle School Forensic Tournament (Bothell campus of Cedar Park Christian School).
The students - and parents - will receive the schedule of each tournament well in advance. Just to give a heads’ up: even if the student is ‘only’ competing in one speech category (also called ‘Event’), they will have to perform that speech at least two times, if not three, in different classrooms with different judges at different respective pre-scheduled hours. In other words, the student will be busy before and after lunchtime, and will learn from the experience of performing many times over AND listening to others compete.
At the tournaments, there are plenty of seasoned students to help, as well as volunteers to see the new students through the maze of activity. Despite the use of modern technology to organise all the various bits and pieces of such a tournament, be prepared for one or two hiccups… which, thankfully, always get ironed out. Everyone’s there to help our teams get the best possible experience.
As a last note, new students frequently ask the question: how big is the classroom where I compete, and how many are in the audience? Most classrooms are typical high school classrooms that seat around 25 students. HOWEVER: at the tournament, during any one time in any one of the dozens upon dozens of classrooms being used, the student who’s competing will be one among 6-8 other competing students (exception: in DUO, due to the nature of the category, double that amount), one judge (seated at the back), and anywhere from one to a couple more parents, friends, or students not competing that round who want to watch. On average: the room is a quarter to max half full.