Since her seventh grade year, New England senior Emily Ehlis has been a strong speech competitor in the region.
By RACHEL BOCK
For The Herald
The poised public speaker has qualified for the state speech tournament since her freshman year as she first qualified in the event of Speech to Inform.
As a sophomore, Ehlis qualified in the events speech to inform and poetry. Her junior year she qualified in speech to persuade and radio broadcasting, where she placed sixth in state in radio broadcasting. Her senior year, her last year competing she qualified for state in the events of speech to inform and radio broadcasting.
In the event of Speech to Inform, the competitor has to write a strictly informative non persuasive speech on a topic of their choice. The speech needs to be between six to eight minutes long, and note cards can be used. Most students start off with note cards, and eventually have their speech memorized after numerous times of practice and presenting the speech itself.
Ehlis chose the topic for her speech to inform about the impact that modern technology is having on our communication skills.
“I talked about how texting as well as social media has impacted our friendships and our relationships and what friendships mean. I also talked about how modern technology has changed our politics and the way we receive our news and just the way word gets out to the people,” Ehlis said.
During this year’s speech season, Ehlis participated in the events of Speech to Inform, Radio Broadcasting, Speech to Persuade, and Serious Duo. Not only did she qualify for state in inform, she also qualified for state in Radio Broadcasting.
In the speech event of Radio Broadcast, the student has to write a short editorial that is up to three minutes long. At the speech meet, the participant is given a wire copy that has news from national, international, sports, local news, and weather. The student is then given a half hour to select stories that they want to speak about in each topic of national news, international news, local news, sports, and weather. They also have to have their own transition points and they have to have the news portion of their broadcast in under three minutes.
On April 29 at the North Dakota Class B State Speech Tournament, Ehlis took second place in Speech to Inform in her last State Speech Meet of her high school career.
For a number of years, New England School has been in a speech co-op with Dickinson Trinity. Ehlis has been a huge recruitment and almost advocate of the co-op as she has convinced students over the years to join the speech team from New England. Trinity Head Speech Coach Janel Schiff says that Emily will be greatly missed next year, not only as a strong competitor on her team, but what she has done for the co-op over the years.
“Emily from the first time she came up to practice, has had such a positive spirit, and a willingness to try new events. She has certainly grown from the years of participation and just matured into this very confident speaker. One of her strengths is her presence. How she moves, how she gestures,” Schiff said.
This year Ehlis was also presented with another prestigious award, as she was awarded the All State Award. The All State Award is an award that is given to a student who is in the top 20 percent in four different events during that given year. Ehlis was in the top 20 percent in radio broadcasting, speech to inform, speech to persuade, and serious duo. An award that Schiff said is very hard to achieve especially in the very competitive Region that they compete in.
For Ehlis, her success was simply due to the fact that she simply loved competing in speech. She has made it almost look so natural Even though she ended her high school career on a high note, the one thing she will miss the most is the friendships that she has made over the years in what she calls her speech family.
“I love the speech contest itself. I love getting in front of people, it gives me confidence. The other reason is the people. That is something I love and will miss a lot is my speech family,” Ehlis said.