Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Potter-Dix ties for second at state speech competition


Donna Juelfs

Members of the Potter-Dix speech team are all smiles after they tied for second place last week at the state speech competition. Individually, Rebekah Hutchinson also won first place in poetry interpretation.

After they called her name, the emotion was overwhelming for Rebekah Hutchinson last Friday.

"I almost cried. I was shaking so bad. I couldn't stop shaking and I felt like I was going to cry," she said. "This is the first year I've even made it to finals, let alone, win. It was completely unexpected."

The Potter-Dix senior won the poetry interpretation category at the state speech meet held late last week in Kearney. Potter-Dix also tied for second as a team in the two-day event. Individuals from Kimball and Banner County each participated at the state meet.

In her first year competing in poetry interpretation, Hutchinson was just a bit surprised when she was announced as the winner.

"It was honestly really surprising," she said. "I wasn't expecting it, and I had a lot of strong competition. I felt prepared going into my round, but it was still a surprise."

Hutchinson's topic was grief. The three selections she used for the competition were The Women of Lockerbie by Deborah Brevoort and The Evil Seekers and Killing The Love, both by Anne Sexton.

"My coaches and I were going between different themes and different ideas, and The Women of Lockerbie was a piece that one of my coaches really wanted me to do," Hutchinson said. "I kind of built the rest of my theme around that piece."

Although it was her first year competing in poetry interpretation, it was not her first year at state. She has competed for three years in persuasive speaking and one year in duet acting.

Hutchinson said her past experience in acting helped with her new venture this year.

"It wasn't as difficult. It's kind of like acting, and I've done that before, too," she said. "It's interesting to have something very different from what I had been doing."

The senior said the key of poetry interpretation is showing the emotion of the pieces during the competition.

"You have to show a lot of emotion," Hutchinson said. "You have to feel a lot of emotion, and when you're able to do that and you're able to feel that and translate that to the crowd and everyone else around you, it's, I think, easier to do that when you have to do that in acting to translate it to a speech."

Junior Regyn Hicks was one of many Potter-Dix competitors who had a strong showing at state. She finished fourth in persuasive speaking, a year after she finished fifth in the event.

After speaking on narcissism last year, Hicks spoke on the power of vulnerability this year.

"It was saying how by making ourselves vulnerable, we're also more open and loving toward other people and ourselves," she said.

Hicks also had quite the reason for picking the topic.

"Because my coach told me to," she deadpanned.

However, when not joking, she said that her coach just gave her ideas for a topic this year.

"I didn't know what to do for persuasive this year, and she said she watched a TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) talk on it that was really good, so I based my speech a lot off that," Hicks said.

The junior said the state experience from last year helped in a variety of ways.

"I was a lot less nervous because I kind of knew what I was doing and I kind of knew where I was going," she said. "I'm really good at getting lost. It was nice to know the campus a little bit."

The almost two years of experience in persuasive speaking also helped.

"I was really nervous last year, most of the time, to get up and talk in front of people," Hicks said. "Now I knew that I could do it, so it wasn't quite so scary to stand up and give my speech."

Hicks was pleased with her performance against such a top group of competitors from throughout the state.

"It's exciting," she said. "It's always fun to do well at anything, especially when you get down to state because you know you're with the best of the best."

Other top Potter-Dix competitors included a third place finish for Justice Palmer and Keverett Rusk in duet acting, a fifth place finish for Samuel Bogert in informative speaking, an eighth place finish for Ryley Hicks in informative speaking, and a ninth place finish for the team of Audrey Juelfs, Jourdan Langley, Dawson Sharman, Alaina Thies and Jamison Tvrs in oral interpretation of drama.

Potter-Dix speech coach Shauna Baker said the strong finish provided some redemption for the team after not doing as well as they hoped to last year at state.

"It's a big tradition at Potter-Dix to do well in speech and this year, especially, it was one of those redemption years because last year we didn't do as well," she said. "It was something that we were really striving for, and it meant a lot to the kids, it meant a lot to the coaches. As keeping with tradition, it was important for us."

"It was amazing," Hicks said. "We didn't really expect it with so few people in finals, and then, when they called that, that was really exciting."

Baker said it was nice to see the team do so well after putting in a lot of hard work throughout the year.

"They worked really hard. All the coaches and I were really proud of them," Baker said. "They had their ups and downs throughout the season, but overall they did such a great job and it was really fun to work with them."

For Kimball, Leisha Casimiro led the way with a fifth place finish in informative speaking. Darcy Usher finished 14th in poetry interpretation, and Taylor Muldoon took 17th place in serious interpretation. Banner County's Megan Gifford finished 14th in informative speaking and teammate Ashlynne Hanan took 17th in humorous interpretation.

"A great finish to a wonderful season," Kimball coach Jenn Dillinger said.

Class D1 team standings

1. Wausa 160

T2. Potter-Dix 62

T2. Winside 62

4. Johnson-Brock 44

T5. Humphrey St. Francis 42

T5. Pleasanton 42


Poetry interpretation

1. Rebekah Hutchinson

Entertainment speaking

17. Levi Kasten

Informative speaking

5. Samuel Bogert

8. Ryley Hicks

Persuasive speaking

4. Regyn Hicks

12. Rebekah Hutchinson

Serious interpretation

11. Hope Shepard

Humorous interpretation

14. Audrey Juelfs

Duet acting

3. Justice Palmer and Keverett Rusk

Oral interpretation of drama

9. Audrey Juelfs, Jourdan Langley, Dawson Sharman, Alana Thies and Jamison Tvrs.


Poetry interpretation

14. Darcy Usher

Informative speaking

5. Leisha Casimiro

Donna Juelfs

Rebekah Hutchinson, left, reacts with shock and jubilation after learning that she won in poetry interpretation at the state speech contest last week.

Serious interpretation

17. Taylor Muldoon

Banner County

Informative speaking

14. Megan Gifford

Humorous interpretation

17. Ashlynne Hanan


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