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The Purple Clarion

The Purple Clarion

Speech team prepares to tackle State Series

Photo Provided.
A small group of the speech team poses for a photo after the Reed-Custer tournament in Braidwood Jan. 6. Juniors Natalie Beck, Bella Teston, Zech Underwood and freshman Noah Billman all placed third, sixth and first respectively.

As the 2023-2024 Speech season begins to wind down, the Speech Team has to prepare for the Illinois High School Association Speech State Series. The first tournament they will compete in will be Regionals and it will be held at HHS.

There are three tournaments in the speech State Series.  In order for a student to go to the second tournament, Sectionals, they have to place in the top four at Regionals.

“I’m a little bit excited, but also nervous, since State Series is always stressful,”  junior Brilee Holbrook said. “This season, I’ve had to do a lot of extra work with prepping new events, so it’s even worse for me, but I’m sure it’ll still be fun to do,”

Participants have to prepare and practice their events in order to be ready to compete. All of these tasks combined can be demanding at times.

“I always get really nervous the night before a tournament, but when I’m about to go into a round I get really calm. [Afterward,] I’m always really proud of myself,” sophomore Jailyn Booth said.

The nerves can be quite the hurdle to jump according to Booth, but once she  gets through her speech, she says it can feel really gratifying. The hard work that goes into preparation and performance makes some participants feel even more rewarded after it’s over. 

“Most people don’t join because of a fear of public speaking— but in reality you usually only perform for three to four people in the preliminary rounds, including your judge. And everyone is at the same level of weirdness,” sophomore Sophia Lin said.

Despite performing in front of just a handful of people, Lin says it can still be stressful. The benefit of all this hard work is that they are able to meet lots of new people and perform at many different places, such as Peoria if they progress to the State competition.

“Hanging out with my friends on the team and talking to people from other schools is a lot of fun, but competing can be draining, especially if you’re not doing events you enjoy,” Holbrook said.



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Whittleigh Trusty is a senior at Harrisburg High School. This is her first year as a  member of the Purple Clarion. She is also a part of Art Club, Book Club, History Club, and Color Guard.

Whittleigh has a prominent interest in most sciences. She enjoys reading about all things related to the subject and watching videos about chemistry experiments. Following high school, she would like to attend SIU to major in organic chemistry.

“Student journalism is important because it allows students to express their thoughts and opinions in a way that is almost guaranteed to be heard.”

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