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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

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Day in the life of Speech Team: communication champions

Shaking hands, wobbling knees and a cracking voice: symptoms of stage fright, one of the most common held fears worldwide. This is a sight one will never see upon entering the GBS Speech Team office, where students forgo their anxieties and use their speaking skills to compete against other schools during Speech season, which lasts from November to mid-May.

South’s team has made their mark on the speech community, sending one or two students to the state and national competitions almost every year, according to junior Vimal Gunasekaran.

Senior captain Sam Bubnovich remembers joining during freshman year.

“I joined because I had [head coach Mark] Maranto as my Communications teacher, and he strongly encouraged me to join speech, and by strongly encouraged I mean he pulled me aside after class and he said ‘You’re joining speech,’ and I said ‘Okay,’” Bubnovich said.

Bubnovich competes mainly in Impromptu Speaking, an event where judges give competitors a topic and one must form and present their opinion.

“You’ve got to quickly synthesize a speech in two minutes, and then that speech has to be six minutes long,” Bubnovich said. “You’ve got to pick a thesis about [your given topic], and be able to defend it very, very quickly.”

Another category of speech is called Humorous Interpretation (HI). Junior Gillian Giudice participates in this by acting out multiple characters in a single monologue.

“I usually work with Maranto [on my own], and we just work on characters and add funny things in as we go along,” Giudice said. “A lot of [what I perform] isn’t from the script.”

Though an HI speech is eight minutes long, Giudice rarely has issues with memorization. Maranto praises her ability to be “intentive, creative and hilarious” while committing a piece to mind after only three times reading it through.

Maranto stresses the importance of finding a good piece to work with.

“I look at pieces that have been performed already and I try to make sure they’re doing […] pieces that the judges haven’t seen as much,” Maranto said.

Senior captain Anna Hirsch remembers the effort she has put into Speech the past three years on the team.

“It’s an activity that you have to dedicate a lot of time to if you really care,” Hirsch said. “How much you put into it is what you’re going to get out.”

Hirsch participates in Special Occasion Speaking, an eight-minute persuasive speech that is humorous and lighthearted.

“There’s a writing period that usually lasts about a week or two before competition starts,” Hirsch said. “Then memorizing lasts a few more days. It’s hard because it’s eight minutes, and somewhere between two and three pages long.”

Apart from weekly practices, the whole team assembles on Friday nights before a competition for run-throughs, where everyone competing performs their speeches. According to Maranto, the following Saturday competitions can be chaos.

“We leave South at usually 6:30 a.m.,” Maranto said. “It’s about a 12-hour day. We leave when it’s dark and we come back when it’s dark.”

Despite long hours, the payoff can be great, according to Hirsh, because the feeling of success makes it all worthwhile.

“[The best part about Speech] is when you actually see results from your work, because it can be tedious and tiring and tournaments are long and stressful, but when you see your name on a finals poster, [it] seems worth it,” Hirsch said.

With all of the accomplishments achieved recently, Speech Coach Afrodite Skaouris acknowledges that with great success also comes failure.

“Sometimes you might not do well but your teammates do well, and it depends on the team dynamic [on how the students will react],” Skaouris said. “But this year, those kids, man, even if they didn’t do well they were so proud of each other.”

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