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North Oldham Speech Team celebrates successful season

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By The Staff

The North Oldham High School Speech Team closed the 2007-08 season by competing in the Kentucky High School Speech League State Tournament March 14-15 at Western Kentucky University.

Speech coach Rosemary Cundiff-Brown, who founded the team when NOHS opened its doors five years ago, said she was impressed with the talent on this year’s team and was also pleased with the dedication of the students.

“I competed in various speech events from the seventh grade until my sophomore year at Western Kentucky University, and I cannot express how important it is for me to see these students love this activity as much I do — it is such a worthwhile organization for students to be involved in, and the team is very much like a family,” Cundiff-Brown said.

The students competed in 13 events, such as radio broadcasting, oratory, humorous interpretation, poetry, solo acting and impromptu speaking. They practiced every week, both on their own and with Cundiff-Brown.

To prepare for the regional and state tournaments, the team competed at invitational competitions throughout the area. A typical tournament involved boarding the school bus at 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday and competing all day at invitationals across the state. The students competed for both trophies as well as pre-qualification for the state tournament. The season began in late October, and various tournaments were held throughout the winter months. Students who had not pre-qualified at an invitational also had the chance to advance to the state tournament by competing on the regional level competition.

On Feb. 9, the team traveled to Larue County High School to compete in the Kentucky High School Speech League Regional Tournament. The team has always finished in the top five schools in the region, but this year NOHS earned a second-place regional sweepstakes for the first time in the school’s short history. The following students earned advancement to the KHSSL State Tournament: Kailey Kilmartin, Nicole Fidanza and Paige Howe in radio broadcasting; Megan Johnson and Kristin Hopkins, Lauren Wolfe and Ramey Monem, and Kathleen Newman and Samya Monem in duo interpretation; Rachel Gibson and Samya Monem and Megan Johnson and Sarah Hale in improvisational duo; Lauren Wolfe and Audi Robinson in poetry interpretation; Megan Johnson and Lauren Wolfe in prose interpretation; Rachel Gibson in humorous interpretation; Emily Gibson in oratorical declamation; Sarah Hale in solo acting; Ryan Seals in dramatic interpretation; Kailey Kilmartin and Samya Monem in storytelling; and Ramey Monem in impromptu speaking. Non-advancing regional team members were Kelsey Carlin, Josh Wiersema, Jessica Horn, Ksenija Slavkovic, Adam Wyzensky, Glen Jennings and Bethany Konesko.

The team had its best overall showing at the KHSSL State Tournament this year. The school had 19 overall entries in various competition categories. Several students reached the semifinal round of competition, placing them in the top 18 competitors in the state. Team captain Lauren Wolfe was a triple semi-finalist, reaching the top 18 speakers in her competition events of prose interpretation, poetry interpretation and duo interpretation with her partner, Ramey Monem. Emily Gibson reached the semifinal round in oratorical declamation and Samya Monem made it to the top 18 competitors in the storytelling category.

For the first time in the history of the team, the school had a student reach the final round of state competition in two different events. The duo interpretation team of Ramey Monem and Lauren Wolfe reached the final round and placed third in the state. Wolfe also reached the final round of prose interpretation and was awarded the third place overall trophy in that event as well. The team placed in the top 20 teams in the state in overall sweepstakes points.

Wolfe was also honored with the Gifford Blyton Scholarship, a $1,000 cash award that she will be able to use at the university of her choice. It was one of only two scholarships given this year. Cundiff-Brown nominated Wolfe.

“I was so happy that the KHSSL organization honored Lauren with this scholarship,” Cundiff-Brown said. “... I nominated Lauren because not only has she been a member of the North Oldham team since she was in the eighth grade, but also because she is a dedicated team captain and is an incredible asset to our organization. I couldn’t think of a better student to receive this award. Lauren and the other senior members of the team have worked so hard as both competitors and mentors and I will miss them all greatly next year.”

The team will have a recruitment meeting at the middle school before the end of the school year and will begin practices in September for the 2008-09 competition season. For information, call Cundiff-Brown at 241-4589.