Lead by an outstanding group of seniors, River Valley speakers from Springfield and Sleepy Eye Public were successful in advancing six students to the Minnesota State High School League’s state speech tournament.
Isaac Kirschstein earned championship honors in original oratory, Molly Dunn was the runner-up in storytelling, and four speakers earned third-place honors, also qualifying for state, including Brandon Roiger in informative speaking, Becky Roiger in oratory, and the duo of Brian Thoreson and Cody Schwartz. In addition, Mariah Hoyt qualified for finals earning a fifth-place finish in prose.
Speakers and their coaches, Brianna Jensen and Darcy Hoyt, will travel to Blaine High School where they will compete on Saturday, April 20, with the first round beginning at 10:15 a.m.
As a team, River Valley Speakers finished in fifth place behind Fairmont and Mankato Loyola who finished in first and second place consecutively. St. Peter finished in third followed by Maple River among the 22 teams in Section 2A.
While Section 2A competition is one of the state’s stiffest, seven of the 13 River Valley competitors advanced to the final round at Friday’s contest.
Brandon Roiger, a Sleepy Eye Public senior, will make his first state speech appearance with his informative speech about water. Brandon’s presentation teaches audience members about water’s properties and formation, including its presence as watery rock which exists far below the earth’s surface. He also includes information about water contaminants, including those introduced through fracking, along with an explanation about how water is cleansed and purified. This is Brandon’s third year in speech and he was a section finalist last year.
Isaac Kirschstein, a Springfield senior, earned champion honors this year and his first trip to a state appearance with his original oration entitled “Escaping Neverland,” where he makes the claim that boys and young men, just like Peter Pan, are increasingly enticed by the allure of Never Land, a place where responsibilities, respect for others, and academic engagement are shirked.
Accompanying Isaac in original oratory is Becky Roiger, also a Springfield senior, whose persuasive speech titled “Beeeep,” explores the growing concern involving avoidable medical errors in the health care industry.
Returning to state for the third year will be Springfield sophomore Molly Dunn. In Molly’s category, she must analyze and be prepared to perform a selected title of a Grimm’s story drawn 30 minutes before competition.
Returning for a second state appearance and with hopes of bettering last year’s second-place finish will be Springfield seniors Brian Thoreson and Cody Schwartz competing in duo interpretation. They are performing a cutting from a full-length play, The Write Stuff, by Dan Nukala.
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Coach Cheryl Neidt will judge both days and will meet the group following Friday’s competition. Former head coach Evy Robinson will also be a part of the tournament staff. Tournament schedules and advance news releases are available to view on the Minnesota State High School League website.