Four speech members to attend nationals


During practice, junior Adriana Voloshchuk rehearses her speech for the United States Extemporaneous Speaking category. Voloshchuk and three other members have qualified for the National Speech & Debate Tournament in June. Photo by Kate Leverenz.

In order to advance to the state competition, junior Adriana Voloshchuk needed to place in the top three at sectionals. She placed fourth in the Impromptu Speaking event at the IHSA Sectional tournament in February and did not qualify for state. By competing in a separate district tournament and placing in the top two, Voloshchuk qualified for nationals in the United States Extemporaneous Speaking event.

“Obviously [competing again] was really nice, especially after state,” said Voloshchuk. “But in all honesty, because [United States Extemporaneous Speaking] was a new event for me, I did not have that much faith that I would make it to nationals.”

In addition to Voloshchuk, three others qualified for nationals by placing in the top two of their events. Sophomore Alex McGarry qualified for Dramatic Interpretation, junior Kristin Yun qualified for Original Oratory and junior Ellie Pavletich qualified for Humorous Interpretation. They plan to compete at the 2022 National Speech & Debate Tournament in Louisville, Ky., from June 12 to June 17.

At nationals, there are six preliminary rounds that all 400 contestants are guaranteed to participate in during the first two days of competition.

The top 60 competitors advance after the six preliminary rounds. In the following elimination rounds, the top 30, the top 15 and the top six competitors advance, head coach Sarah Ilie said. 

According to Pavletich, her event, Humorous Interpretation, is approximately a 10-minute segment of a humorous play in which she has to play multiple characters with different voices and poses. 

“When a lot of people think about speech, they think like, ‘Oh, giving a speech,’” said Pavletich. “There are informational and public speaking events, but I see it as a way to hone my craft in acting and comedy.”

According to Voloshchuk, because her usual event, Impromptu Speaking, is not offered at the national level, making the switch to the United States Extemporaneous Speaking event was difficult. 

“It felt like the season just ended with sectionals, and then right away it was [the district competition] and I didn’t really have a lot of time to become good at [United States Extemporaneous Speaking],” Voloshchuk said. 

In the United States Extemporaneous Speaking event, students can choose between three prompts about a U.S. political event and have 30 minutes to outline a seven-minute speech.

“I’m still really excited to [compete in United States Extemporaneous Speaking], and hopefully I can become better at that event, because I had the whole year for the other one, so it’s nice to immerse myself in a different category,” Voloshchuk said.