Speech team prepares for virtual season


Opening lines of senior Tanner Maydak’s original comedy script.

Nick Pallotto, News Editor

North Speech Team is currently in flux.   Even so, head coach Mike Schneider is planning for success in a season like no other. 

Schneider announced that practices will be virtual for the start of the season, but it is still unclear as to when the team will be participating in competitions in person.

“At this point because we are still figuring everything out, I think everything will go relatively smooth,” Schneider said. “We might do competitions asynchronously in real-time and have students record their speeches as many times as they want, but it will be very difficult.” 

Schneider and his new assistant coach Emily Pomrening are trying to ensure that students have the resources and skills they need to succeed. Practices and competitions online may prove to be a challenge, though.

“It’s the hardest thing to do all of this virtually,” Pomrening said.  “You really have to stay on top of emails and providing an open-door environment through Zoom isn’t really an option, but I am always there for students through these very difficult times.” 

Certain speech categories such as humorous duet acting may not be possible due to social distancing guidelines. Students see the positive and negative effects of doing competitions virtually. 

“We are not in the best situation globally,” junior Rami Qahwash said. “The health of the people and containing the Covid-19 outbreak is very important. This is something not everyone wants, but practices have to be done virtually.”

 The next speech meet is at Thornton Township High school on Nov. 21.  Team members feel it is an opportunity to try out their speeches and see how they do in their next virtual competition.  

“I don’t look upon winning, I enjoy competitions in general,” senior Tanner Maydak said. “I hope to improve my public speaking and my overall courageousness, [and] I think it is important to speak your mind and show how you feel.” 

Schneider says the competition aspect is huge, but overall, he hopes that students have fun and use the speech team as a time to learn and grow as individuals.

“Speech team is all about positivity,” Schneider said.  “There are so many different variables that go into speech. The more times that students give a speech, the more they will improve on it. “ It is really important to be honest.” 

The team is turning their attention to the virtual format as the season approaches and tries not to stress about virtual competitions when that information is still currently undecided.  

“I’ve been thinking about our virtual presentation,” Pomrening said. “We worry about our immediate situation; I will not worry unless it is something in the near future.”