OHS Speech and Debate Season Comes to an End


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Mitch Aschenbrenner (11) and Carlie Dobbins (11) practice their Duo Interpretation presentation before their competition.

OHS students competed last week (March 11-13) in the Eastern Missouri District of the National Speech and Debate Association to close out Speech and Debate’s season. 

Although the season is over, the team went out with a fight and a great finish to their year. Some members made it to semifinals and finals, placing well.

Though it was their first year competing, Libby Oelzen (9) and Mason Bader (9) made it into finals, placing sixth in Duo Interpretation.

“I had a very fun time competing,” Bader said. “I was very tired by the end, but I had a very good time. Libby and I worked very hard and coming in sixth showed that all our hard work paid off in the end.” 

Captain — and the only senior on the Speech and Debate team — Hannah Franke fought her way to finals as well. Here she placed sixth in Program of Oral Interpretation.

“I’ve taken such a journey through the various events in Speech and Debate during my four years, but I’m very happy that I ended up with POI (Program of Oral Interpretation),” she said. “My piece was built from both poetry and prose and was based around the concept of childlike wonder, which made it a blast to perform. The district tournament was really fun and very rewarding.” 

Franke competed alongside 30 other competitors in Program of Oral Interpretation. Making it so far into finals made her feel extremely proud of her performance and the progress she has made over the years.

After four preliminary rounds, Carlie Dobbins (11) and Mitch Aschenbrenner (11) made their way to semifinals in Duo Interpretation. Dobbins also made semifinals in Humorous Interpretation. 

There was also vigorous competition from the rest of the team. Thomas Kallaos (10) and Ethan Chapman (10) competed in policy debate and US Extemporaneous Speaking, while Jason Buss (10) performed in Informative Speaking. Aschenbrenner and Andrew Blanchette (11) each competed in Dramatic Interpretation, and Bader in Humorous Interpretation.

Mr. Ed Taylor, who sponsors Speech and Debate, is proud of the performance he saw from the students.

“This was a great showing for such a young team: three are novices and six are first-year varsity,” Taylor said. “We look forward to broadening and strengthening for next year.”