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For Faith Christian High School senior Mikayla Martin, participating in speech competitions has brought her confidence throughout her high school career.
“People underestimate high school students,” she said. “Speech has given me a confidence and ability to pick my words and express them properly. Public speaking is one of the most feared things in society, so this gives us an advantage going into college and work.”
Martin was one of eight students from the Faith Christian High School Speech and Debate team to place at the Colorado High School Activities Association State Festival Tournament held last month. In fact, Martin placed first in not one, but two categories: interpretation of drama and contrasting monologues.
Her state win in dramatic interpretation qualified her for National Individual Events Tournament of Champions, a national competition that will be hosted at Denver East High School on May 11-13.
Ironically, Martin is very soft spoken in every day life.
“When I enter a competition people automatically underestimate me,” she said. “But when I get to perform with accents and emotion, it’s super empowering to see people realize your potential.”
Martins dramatic interpretation piece was a monologue in which she portrayed Grendel, a monster from the epic poem “Beowulf.”
“I think it’s fun to become these people even if it’s only for a few minutes.” Martin said.
These were Martin’s fourth and fifth state titles.
Tyler Beeson won the other first place speech finish for Faith Christian in the impromptu speaking category.
“It was going out there and really focusing and trying my hardest to win,” Beeson said.
“It was a little nerve-wracking to see all the speakers and not knowing what they were bringing to the table. I just had to stay confident in my speaking ability.”
Debate team members Thomas MacPhee and Emily Funk battled it our for first and second place in the Lincoln-Douglas Debate.
The two, who practice together, were excited to be the top out of 23 Lincoln-Douglas debaters at the state competition: MacPhee taking the win.
“For me it wasn’t about having a medal or getting name on the wall,” MacPhee said. “It was my parents, coaches and peers being impressed with me and proud of me.”
For Funk event the second place finish was validation of hard work.
“I lost to Thomas, but I didn’t take that too hard,” she said. “For me, the most rewarding was after the debate a bunch of girls came up to talk to me. Debate is male dominated, so to have all those women telling me I did a good job, it was inspiring.”
MacPhee and Funk are be eligible to go to National Qualifiers later this season to try to earn a bid for the National Speech and Debate Association Tournament in Florida on June 17-22.
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