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Hi, my name is Iasmina, and I’m a sophomore at HEHS. On top of writing for Hawkeye View, I am a member of the Speech, Math, and Tennis teams, as well as Book Club. I love cats, reading, nature, and watching...

From practice to the podium: How the speech team preps for IHSA competitions


IHSA is an association that oversees competitions between multiple high school districts reaching levels of sectionals, regionals, and state. And as it nears, sports teams and competitive clubs are working harder than ever to improve and ace their performances. One of the teams partaking in this adrenaline-filled, fun competition is Speech and Acting.

The members of this team – they can be called speechies – engage in constant practice in order to improve their events and ensure they are ready to compete against formidable competitors. 

Whether it be practice for half an hour long sessions with multiple coaches or peer reviewing their pieces to make sure it just hits right, speechies are devoted to their art, especially during this remainder of the winter season.

“I go to coaching so that I can make changes to speech to make it better,” said Hiba Ali, sophomore, when asked about her preparation process that ensures high ranks at tournaments. Another talented speechie, Jiya Shah, who does both acting and speech, describes IHSA to be “tougher and [with] more competition” and that “lots of the schools are there, so more pressure to advance into the next rounds.”

The reason behind this surreal amount of stress felt by students and the staggering number of students competing for a win is one: an opportunity to have a physical, credible record proving the blood, sweat, and tears put forth by students and two: the plethora of future pathways IHSA opens up.

Naz Ahmed, the varsity coach of the speech and acting team, explains during the timeframe of IHSA, the possibility of scholarships can open up. Speechies can present their resumes to recruiters, showcasing their merits such as wins from IHSA competitions and commitments made to the team, and potentially be awarded monetary scholarships ranging from partial to full-ride. 

IHSA speech competitions welcome professionals from nearby states such as Kentucky, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, and more to scout talent from high schools. At the tournament itself, the layout resembles the set-up of the Athletics/Activity fair at HEHS as speechies can inquire about colleges, their speech and acting programs, and scholarships. These scholarships can range from paying for the time the student is at college to covering food and dorm expenses. 

Regardless of the high stakes this competition presents, it is also a valuable experience for the members. For that, the speech team is polishing up and bringing their A-game to the state series; determined to bring a trophy or two home.


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