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SPEECH CONTEST

CHS ensemble group collects state honor

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chs all-state speech 21-02-21s

A Carroll High School ensemble-acting group received Iowa High School Speech Association all-state honors for its performance of "Eve and Adam." Pictured are (from left) sophomore Will Teggatz; senior Mishy King; Sonia Cuvelier-Walsh, who coached ensemble-acting groups; and sophomore Joewie Heithoff.

Performing a piece that puts a playful twist on the story of creation, Carroll High School senior Mishy King and sophomores Joewie Heithoff and Will Teggatz received all-state honors in Iowa High School Speech Association Large Group Contest.

The Carroll High School group performed in the ensemble-acting category and received I (excellent) ratings at both district and state contests plus judges’ nomination at state in order to receive the award. The IHSSA released all-state results last week.

For King, this is her fifth all-state speech award. Her previous selections were in individual-events storytelling in 2019, individual-events storytelling and original oratory in 2020, and large-group improvisation in 2020. Heithoff and Teggatz were named all-state for the first time.

Bill Polking is Carroll High School speech coach, and Sonia Cuvelier-Walsh coached this ensemble-acting group, whose performance was titled “Eve and Adam.”

Cuvelier-Walsh said, “The piece takes the story of God, Eve and Adam and gives it a big twist. God is a woman. Adam is created from Eve’s rib. Eve is kind of a feminist who would rather be single or have a girlfriend, and Adam is a kind of a chauvinist moron who is certainly outwitted by two strong-willed women.”

Cuvelier-Walsh selected the piece, explaining, “I like choosing things that are familiar stories but have been modified to provide an alternative perspective. I also like to find material that will be new and fresh to judges at contest. I’d never seen this performed, so I was hoping it would be original compared to other work.

“These actors have performed together before, and I knew they’d do a great job bringing the right energy and characterization to their roles. Mishy and Joewie are both very strong, confident young women, and they enjoy hassling Will every chance they get, so the piece seemed sort of custom-made for this trio.”

Cuvelier-Walsh said the CHS students’ performance wowed the judges at State Contest held earlier this month at Fort Dodge High School.

“Their State performance was very high-energy; the three judges were enthralled with it from the start of the piece and gave nothing but positive feedback, from the strong character work to the use of the space and interpretation of the material, so I knew they’d definitely delivered their best on the day it really counted most,” she said.

She credited the group with putting in a lot of extra work in the final hours “to pull it together and make it solid.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will be no All-State Festival this year to showcase performers from across Iowa. All-staters were selected from four State Contests altogether.

For her part, CHS’s King commented, “To be considered one of our state’s best young performers makes me proud of all the hard work I and my fellow actors have put in to get to where we are today.”

In individual events this Saturday at Fort Dodge St. Edmond, King will perform in original oratory and storytelling. She’s also active in fall play, concert band, jazz band and marching band.

King said, “Speech and drama are my great passions in life,” and she believes speech participation has many benefits.

“It can help some express themselves and give them a creative outlet. It can also be a great experience for those who are not as comfortable with speaking in front of crowds. Speech gives those a supportive environment to feel more comfortable speaking in front of others,” she said. “Speech also prepares students for the world outside of high school by teaching them to speak up and speak out for what they believe.”

King plans to continue with performance after high school, saying, “I couldn’t think of a life without theater.”

Heithoff said of the award, “Receiving recognition for All-State is absolutely insane. All-State is where the highest-ranked performers from State competition get to go.”

She also participates in individual speech, drama, mock trial and band.

She said of speech, “It’s my creative outlet, a way for anyone to express who they are and how they feel through performance.”

Teggatz said, “All the people I know who’ve gone to All-State are great individuals, so even being counted next to them is an amazing experience.”

He’s also participated in fall play and band and plans to perform in public address and spontaneous speaking in individual speech.

Teggatz said speech is probably his favorite school activity and commented, “Practicing with and seeing my classmates get better inspires me to do my best.”

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