BANDON — Nineteen members, seven returning and 12 new speakers of the 2019- 2020 Bandon High School Speech Team represented Bandon at the South Coast Invitational Speech held October 12th at Marshfield High School.
Bandon’s team competed head-to-head with 257 entries from speakers from 14 schools of all sizes, including Oak Hill, South Medford, North Medford, Grants Pass, Marist, Marshfield, North Bend, South Albany, Ashland, Springfield, Illinois Valley, Phoenix and St. Mary’s.
Quinn McGagin made it to the finals with a radio commentary called “Black Holes.” Becky Yu received a second-place award with a piece called “Racial Discrimination in Chinese American Restaurants.” The Dual Interpretation team of Elli Schulz and Kayla LaPlante made third place with “Wretched” by James Cronan.
In the Novice Division for first year speakers, Bandon closed out Radio Commentary with 3rd, 2nd and 1st awards: Hallie Miller’s “Social Media Stress,” Madeline Miller’s “Fan Fiction,” and Kayla LaPlante’s “Plastics and Their Impact on Our Oceans” respectively. Kenny McMillen advanced to the final rounds in impromptu, Ailey Knight finaled with a reading of a piece called “Beaten Down: Silently Suffering” by Thomas Hodge.
The novice debate teams also did well receiving 3rd (Madeline Miller and Hallie Minkler) and 2nd place (Ailey Knight and Kayla LaPlante) on the topic “Resolved: The European Union Should join the Belt and Road Initiative.”
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Thanks to a grant from the Mr. and Mrs. Michael L. Keiser Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, North Bend, Marshfield and Bandon High Schools were able to participate in a speech workshop in September. Demond Wilson, a Dramatic Interpretation National Champion as well as a coach of national champions came from Mississippi for a six-day speech seminar. During the seminar, Wilson auditioned speech team members and provided award winning scripts. In addition, he presented a three-hour workshop to all four schools which included strategies to take a script and make it come alive.
This is the first year that five freshmen have been accepted onto the team. Co-captains this year are four-year speakers Becky Yu and Amelia Russell. Seniors include Autumn Davis, Samantha Marsh, and Kyla Harris.
Several community members volunteered to help judge the tournament, including Roger Straus, Ellen Howard, Jarrett Goldstein and Cindy Park.
“This team is inspirational. I have not seen this many new speakers put so much work into their pieces," said coach Tyler Curtis. "Two thirds of the team is new and we have really strong leadership this year. I am really excited to see where we go.”
The team's first Sweet Speeches of the season will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at the Sprague Community Theater, 1202 11th St. SW. Witness the exciting dynamics of the 2019-12 BHS Speech and Debate team. Bandon will travel to Silverton High School for the Nov. 9 tournament, then to Clackamas High School for a Dec. 7 tournament.