Written by Nicole Adams

The 2016-17 speech season is drawing to a close this spring. It was a successful season filled with talent, hard work, and lots of fun. The fall play was heartwarming and overall incredible. Large Group and Individual competition went above and beyond this year. The spring musical, The Secret Garden, has yet to come.


Large group competition took place in January and February. The season was “monumental” according to Speech coach Kami Hill. She gushed, “Oh my gosh I was so proud of everybody this season.” She seemed especially proud of the fact that  every group that went to State earned an overall Division 1 rating and three groups even made it to All-State!


The three categories that Prairie made it to All-State were Musical Theatre, Solo Mime, and Short Film. 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was the musical performed by the talented Kelsey Levi, Tori Enyart, Madie Renner, and Elaina Walter. The short film Everything but the Kitchen Sink was directed by Caroline Sherman and the actors were Nicole Adams, Tori Enyart, and Wyatt Heisterkamp. Solo Mime was Lindsey Grady performing The Evolution of Man. They all went to Iowa State University to perform on February 19th with many supporters in tow.


 “We’re always very very pleased because it’s not a given. All-State is one of those uncontrollables that you just never know, so to be able to have one group, much less three or more is a huge accomplishment,” said Jolynn Swartzendruber, one of the Prairie Speech & Drama coaches.


The Individual’s season was just as impressive this year. It kicked off with Prairie High School hosting Districts, the first level of competition, on February 25th. It went swimmingly, even though it was a lot of work according to the coaches.


By the end of Districts, 34 students had earned Division 1 ratings and moved on to State! From there 3 individuals were nominated for All-State! Kelsey Levi and Johanna Guerin both performed Prose at All-State, and Gabby Lewis performed Solo Musical Theatre.


Kelsey Levi was especially excited to go to All-State for Individuals as she commented, “I made All-State as a freshman in the individual category of Storytelling, and since then I have looked forward to Individuals more than any other speech season.” This year she performed the prose piece To Scratch, Claw, or Grope Clumsily or Frantically by Roxanne Gay.


“I loved attending the All-State festival and being supported by my fellow speech students and our awesome coaches,” Levi stated about her success this season.


Although the year isn’t over yet. The spring musical is underway. The musical this year is The Secret Garden and has one of the biggest casts Prairie has ever seen! Coach Hill explains, “It’s gonna be so cool, it’s a bigger cast than we’ve had in years past, we have a cast of 30, it’s kind of crazy to see that many people on stage all at once.”


The show opens on May 11th at 7 pm and performs until the 13th. Coach Hill is very excited for people to see this show. Hill states, “I really really want to encourage everybody to come see this show. This cast is stacked, just stacked with talented people.”


Obviously every season of speech is different but hopes for next year seem to be high, as this year’s season was so great. Coach Swartzendruber said, “I see next year being full of a tremendous amount of potential. I think the sky’s the limit, it’s gonna be where students wanna go. I see nothing but great things in the future.”


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