Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Talk Show Students Gather for Speech Invitational

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Talk Show Students Gather for Speech Invitational

Article excerpt

Plenty of students were talking in classrooms at Fort Zumwalt South High School last week, but no one tried to hush them up.

About 250 students from 14 high schools were competing in the school's sixth annual speech invitational. Competing in 12 categories, the students talked up a storm from the time regular classes ended until trophies were handed out late in the evening.

While waiting to perform, students gathered in the halls and cafeteria to pore over notes and solicit advice from fellow competitors. Down one hall, several students were gesturing and talking to the walls to rehearse.

Although other area high schools hold speech contests, the invitational at Fort Zumwalt South and one held at Francis Howell North are the largest in the county, said Pat Turpin, speech teacher and speech team coach at Fort Zumwalt South.

Turpin started the invitational at her school.

"The first year we had the tournament," she said, "we had only six on the team. We now have 57, so it has grown tremendously. It's sort of word of mouth, with students encouraging others. It's hard work, but they enjoy it. We practice before and after school daily."

As at other schools, the extracurricular activity has become so popular that students have to try out for it.

Turpin believes students on speech teams not only learn to speak well but also learn about sportsmanship, time managment and leadership.

Her students speak highly of the program.

"It's a lot of fun and brings a challenge that helps us conquer fear of speaking in front of other people," said Chad Hartnell, a freshman. "It has made me like talking in front of people."

Angie Clynes, a sophomore, said she joined the speech team after Turpin, her English teacher, took her to an oratorical contest last year. "I liked it, so I tried out and I love it," said Angie. "It's been a confidence booster . …

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