If you had walked through the halls of Kimball Area High School this past Saturday, you may have had to pinch yourself to make sure you weren't in the thrall of some bizarre dream. And after that pinch, you would still have seen dozens of young adults in black suits speaking animatedly to the walls. Now, if you'd have seen the walls talking back, there would have been cause for concern and hopefully, a visit to the neurologist.
Kimball Area High School hosted the Fifth Annual Empress Invitational Saturday, March 13, hosting 526 students from 29 schools in one of the larger speech tournaments in Central Minnesota. With yellow brick roads leading students to their speaking areas, and Tinman hats to crown the champion of each category, the Wizard of Oz theme made the meet even more fun than speech already is!
The Champions - crowned in honor of late speech coach and Kimball teacher Angela Provost Sandal - included: Creative Expression, Jeff Reuter of St. Cloud Cathedral; Discussion, Erin Twohy of Sauk Rapids-Rice; Duo Interp, Generous and Markham of St. Cloud Cathedral; Serious Drama, Shelby Kitterman of Sauk Centre; Ext Reading, Chelsey Maus of Kimball; Ext Speaking, Matt Kesslen of Sauk Rapids-Rice; Great Speeches, Mallory Bierl of Oglivie; Humorous, Sean Schneider of Sauk Centre; Informative, Michelle Ruszart of Sauk Rapids-Rice; Original Oratory, Katie Biedler of Sauk Rapids-Rice; Serious Poetry, Katelyn Steffel of Alexandria; Serious Prose, Lillia Khuit of Dassel-Cokato; and Storytelling, Aaron Moore of Princeton.
In the Small Team division, Albany took first honors, with Swanville and Onamia placing 2nd and 3rd. In Medium Teams, Sauk Rapids-Rice, with five category champions, and coached by Molly Olson, formerly of Kimball, took first place, with Kimball taking second place, beating by one point St. Cloud Cathedral in third place. Princeton, coached by Kimball Alumni Thor Mattick, took top honors in Large Teams, followed by Dassel-Cokato and Cambridge-Isanti.
Kimball speechers who had excellent days included: Ext. Reading: Chelsey Maus - first, Tyler Dockery - second, and Alissa Jones - fourth; Great Speeches: Kenzie Traurig - sixth; Original Oratory: Kelsey Vigoren - second, Abby Zoller - fourth, and Shelby Schiefelbein - seventh. Earning honorable mentions were Mitch Hurrle and Nick Anderson in Duo, Jonathan Bisila in Discussion, Nicole
Johnson in Humorous, and Ashley Angier in Poetry. Congratulations to the Kimball Speechers.
The speech team would like to thank everyone who was involved in helping with the meet: our wonderful, supportive parents, our custodians who get us to where we need to be in the building, the teachers and staff who allow us the use of their spaces and classrooms, to Mr. Widvey and Mr. Holmseth who were on hand to help out and to watch students speak, and to the Kimball Community for their support of this important activity. We couldn't do it without all of you!