Alameda International High School let its speech team do the talking at the 2013 speech festival tournament and came away with two championships.
Senior Stephen Sautel took the top prize in both creative storytelling and humorous interpretation at the Colorado High School Activities Association’s (CHSAA) tournament at Heritage High School Jan. 25-26.
“It’s extremely rare for one student to win two in events in one tournament,” said Scott LaBelle, speech and drama instructor at Alameda. “We had nine students compete, and we received six awards.”
LaBelle said that CHSAA separates schools into two groups based on student body size, and Alameda falls into the festival category, which is for smaller schools.
The Alameda team is made up of 12 students, who start practicing in September and competing in October through January.
“A lot of our speech students are also actors,” LaBelle said. “It can be a really great blending of the two arts.”
Sautel is an actor at the school, which is where he first heard about the speech team as a freshman. He’s been an active member in both areas ever since.
The creative storytelling event he won first is really about thinking on your feet, Sautel said.
“You are given three prompts and you pick your favorite one, and than have 15 minutes to come up with a story that has a complete arc — beginning, middle and end,” he said. “The only preparation you can do is really be ready for anything that is thrown at you.”
Sautel practiced by having LaBelle, friends and teammates create characters to throw at him, so he could work on his improvisational skills.
For the humorous interpretation category, competitors have to find a piece of humorous literature and are given 10 minutes to do a presentation on it.
Sautel selected “Sorry I Pooped in Your Shoe,” by Jeremy Greenberg, a funny story told from a dog’s perspective.
He said he was able to work on his presentation of the story, and fine tune it during competition in preparation for the tournament, and had a great time working out how to best interpret it.
While the two wins were certainly exciting, Sautel said the best part about the speech team is the camaraderie that goes along with it.
“Everyone is friendly and always talking to each other after the matches,” he said. “It’s a really great collaborative time, and you get to meet people of all kinds of skill levels.”