State Speech Contest announces school awards

Posted 5/15/24

LA CROSSE – Thirty-one Wisconsin schools received recognition for their overall performance at the Wisconsin State Speech Festival. The event was held this year at DeForest Area High School as …

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State Speech Contest announces school awards


LA CROSSE – Thirty-one Wisconsin schools received recognition for their overall performance at the Wisconsin State Speech Festival. The event was held this year at DeForest Area High School as well as online. This year, more than 3,050 students, representing 300 schools advanced to the State Festival. While most schools participated in person, about a dozen only participated online, but one-third had at least one entry who submitting a video of their performance to be evaluated online.

Adjudicators rated each student or performing group to determine a medal award, and the top five percent of medal-earning schools are recognized with Excellence in Speech Awards, with the school and coach each presented with a plaque. This year, 15 schools earned this honor (sorted by school, alphabetically):

Barneveld High School – Duane Draper

Burlington High School – Robbie Twohig, Matt Nie

Chippewa Falls High School – Karen Koehler

Darlington High School – Clarey Schwartz

Fennimore High School – Donna Williams-Richter / Micki Becwar

Mineral Point High School – Kristin Staver

Muskego High School – Joe Meinecke

Platteville High School – Cheryl Schober

Regis High School (Eau Claire) – Judine Brey

Sauk Prairie High School (Prairie du Sac) – Ryan Mussack

Southern Door Schools (Brussels) – JamieLynn Teska

Waunakee High School – Walter Stenz

Westosha Central High School (Salem) – Brenda Bursek-Krekling

Winnebago Lutheran Academy (Fond du Lac) – Scott Herrewig / Andrew Mildebrandt

Wrightstown High School – David Winkler

Additionally, the following schools earned the Distinction in Speech Award, for medal achievement in the top 6 to 10 percent. Those schools and coaches earning plaques are (sorted by school, alphabetically): Brookwood High School (Ontario) – Kim Neal Nofsinger

Cameron High School – Sheri Hagen-Salm, Sarah Pica, Bambi Forcey

D.C. Everest High School (Schofield) – Dawn Whitsett

Ellsworth High School – Jennifer Kieren

Iowa-Grant High School – Amanda Linscheid, Michele Wetter

Kaukauna High School – Holli Ferguson

Lake Mills High School – Brenda Morris, Renee Mitchell

Lodi High School – Anne Lembcke, Renee Moldenhauer, Erica Bardwell

Menomonie High School – Andrea Smith

Niagara High School – Ginger Anderson

Oconto Falls High School – Michelle Desterheft, Gayle Gander

Oshkosh West High School – Scotti Thurwatcher

Prescott High School – Tanya Sponholz

Randolph High School – Adam Iverson, MacKenzie Gehrke

Shoreland Lutheran High School (Somers) – Nicholas Mitchell

Waterford Union High School – Kelly West

During the COVID-19 pandemic, WISDAA, like many state activities associations, sought alternative approaches to holding speech contests, working with such organizations as the National Speech & Debate Association and National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

“For a third year, we are grateful to the DeForest Area School District staff, students, and administration for graciously hosting us at their newly-renovated secondary schools,” said WISDAA Executive Director Adam Jacobi. “The amount of praise and appreciation expressed by coaches and students in attendance this year was overwhelmingly positive.

“It has been a challenging time for schools to participate in interscholastic academic sports like Speech. As an association affiliated with the NFHS, we are aware participation numbers among schools are lower across the country, and Wisconsin is no exception. As we continue to rebuild after the pandemic and recognize the essential need for social-emotional learning experiences to help address mental health needs of students, activities like interscholastic Speech are more important than ever. The coaches and students who continued participation despite the challenges facing them should be commended.”

Submitted by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Speech & Dramatic Arts Association

Wisconsin State Speech Festival, Excellence in Speech awards, Distinction in Speech Award, Prescott High School, Ellsworth High School