The Forensics (Speech & Debate) Team got a major head start to their season this July when they traveled to Dowagiac, MI for their 2018 Speech Retreat, where they spent a weekend writing and outlining speeches, engaging in team bonding and getting-to-know-you activities, and enjoying water sports like tubing, jet skiing, and paddle boarding! Director of Forensics and HCC Speech Instructor Bill Lucio said, “I think it’s important to start the year strong and provide the students with a weekend where they can have fun and get to know each other, but also form a solid work ethic and introduce them to time management strategies right at the get go!” He continued by saying, “Providing these students with a summer weekend retreat helps boost team morale, encourages early friendships, and gives the students a unique experience that they can reminisce throughout the year.” Assistant Director, Brit Williams agreed and also said, “We have a really great team this year and I loved seeing the students speak about their passions and values! We are miles ahead of where we were this time last year.”
The students had a wonderful time and thought this weekend retreat was the perfect way to start an often competitive speech season. Team captain Michelle Johnson articulated that, “it was a great bonding experience and I loved getting to know everyone.” Co-captain Alec Aurand added, “I think this was a great experience to, not only work on our speeches, but also bond with our new teammates. This team is going to do great things for Highland this year!”
Even though the majority of the retreat was built around selecting a speech topic, outlining an argument, and crafting a thesis statement, there was definitely room in the schedule for fun! Reflecting on the weekend’s entertaining activities, competitor April Woolcock stated, “I had the best time with this group in the middle of nowhere,” and teammate Lucas Boomgarden said, “We are more than just a team at this point, we are a family.”
As mentioned, it looks like this year is already off to a great start for Highland’s Speech Team. Currently, with its eight members, the team already has five informative speeches and three persuasive speeches in the works, with multiple “acting events” being finalized. Last year, the team experienced tons of success, taking home individual and team trophies at all eight of their tournaments, including a third place trophy at their National Tournament in Daytona Beach, FL! This year, the team will travel to Reno, NV to compete at Nationals and they are well on their way to earning another championship title. In the words of competitor Luthien Jonis, “Watch out for Highland’s Speech Team this year!”
Group Picture (from left to right): April Woolcock, Michelle Johnson, Lucas Boomgarden, Alec Aurand, Luthien Jonis, Maggie Finazzo.