Speech Team Aims for State


Photo Credit: Melanie Gustafson

OID: Katelynn Stodieck, Tamara Witzel, Josue Fuentes, Lucy Mendez, Jacqueline Lopez.

Brienna Romero, News Reporter

Speech is an extracurricular activity that allows high school students have the opportunity to improve public speaking skills, confidence, individualism, self discovery, and building friendships. The Speech events can be divided into many categories such as; Humorous, Poetry, Serious, Persuasive, OIDs, Duets, Entertainment, Extemp, and Informative. Melanie Gustafson is the Head Speech Coach and 12th English teacher. The assistant Speech Coaches are; Jason Trautman, Aimee Sigler, and Hope Peterson. The main goal for the upcoming speech season is to improve individually and as a team. Last year there were seven Schuyler Central High School students who qualified for State and we were District Runners Up.

Before Coach Gustafson started to coach in Schuyler, she coached in Leigh, Nebraska for three years. Coach Gustafson believes the end goal for the speech team is to have State Qualifiers. “We are strongest in Persuasive Speaking as we have two returning speakers in the event, including a State Qualifier in Tasha Macholan. We also have two returning Poetry speakers, including District medalist Katelynn Stodieck, and State Qualifier Ashley Hernandez,” stated Coach Gustafson. Unfortunately, the speech team lost seven strong students who graduated. “Although, the speech team is based on a young team, success comes to those who put in the hard work, and we have some very dedicated team members,” acknowledged Coach Gustafson.

Photo Credits: Yearbook Staff
The OID:Brenda Lara-Romo (left), Colin Gibbons (middle), and Carly Johnson (right) prepare for Logan View Meet.


Coach Trautman is a 7th grade English teacher and Middle School Wrestling Coach. Coach Trautman has been as an assistant speech coach for three years at SCHS. In Coach Trautman’s opinion, he believes the toughest competitions are at York, Lakeview, and Aurora. Coach Trautman believes the biggest challenges of the speech team are time and work ethic.

“If a competitor wants to truly do well, they will need to put in the time and effort outside of scheduled practice time,” Coach Trautman proclaimed. Coach Trautman is looking forward to improve the placings throughout the season. “Despite the toughest competitions, I believe If we truly work hard, I think we change our top fifth speech team to third and increase the average number of Speech State Qualifiers,” Coach Trautman acknowledged.

Ashley Hernandez, a senior and 2019 Speech State Qualifier in Poetry, enjoys supporting the speech team, especially when they are presenting. “Humorous is always brightens my mood, and some Duets have chemistry that makes it hard to look away,” Hernandez declares. Hernandez assures “once we put hard work in the speeches, we will bond and be a very competitive speech team”.

The reason why Hernandez chose to participate in Speech is because she wanted to get out of her comfort zone. “A teacher recommended me and said that I had a knack for speeches,” Hernandez acknowledged. In 2020 speech season, she is looking forward to offer her strengths and engaging the audience in a poetry event.

Jessica Sorsen, a senior, feels very anxious, confident, and excited for this upcoming speech season. Her favorite speech events to watch are OIDs and duets. “I love the speech atmosphere,” Sorsen acquiesced. As a freshman, Sorsen enjoyed One Act Play Production and that led her into trying out for speech. Sorsen views the whole speech team as a giant family.

Photo Credits: Coach Gustafson
Miguel Cruz delivers his persuasive speech about the dangers of social media.

“I am quite responsible as the only experienced exempt speaker and able to help others on my team by bringing things to speech meets that they may have forgotten,” pointed out Sorsen. Throughout the speech season, Soren’s parents help motivate her to perform her best in every possible way. She offers her character development and strongly written speeches for the speech team.

Overall, there are six males and 16 females. These are the following events of the speech team : Duets: Miguel Cruz (11) and Briana Barrios (11); Piper Lefdal (9) and Benjamin Lefdal (9); Brienna Romero (10) and Janey Parra(10). Persuasive: Natasha Macholan (12), Brienna Romero (10), and Miguel Cruz (11). Entertainment: Jenna Jedlicka (10), and Briana Barrios (11). Extemp: Jessica Sorsen (12), Vivi Sayer (9), Carly Johnson (11), and Piper Lefdal (9). Poetry: Ashley Hernandez (12), Katelynn Stodieck (12), and Delvan Del-Cid (12). Informative: Vivi Sayer (9), Colin Gibbons (9), Maria Mendez (11), and Jacqueline Lopez (11). Serious: Brenda Lara-Romo (11), Maria Mendez (11) and Jessica Sorsen (12). Humorous: Josue Fuentes (9). OIDs: Carly Johnson (11), Colin Gibbons (9), and Brenda Lara-Romo (11). Another OID: Josue Fuentes (9), Katelynn Stodieck (12), Lucy Mendez (9), Jacqueline Lopez (11), and Tamara Witzel (12).