Student’s Compete in Public Speaking State Championship


Photo by Kristen Plant

Grace Liu, Graphics Team

Members of the Miramonte Public Speaking class participated in the recent State Championship that the California High School Speech Association (CHSSA) hosted from April 19 to 25. For the first time, CHSSA hosted the tournament entirely online. Only students who qualified during local State Qualifying Tournaments were permitted to compete in CHSSA State 2021. 

“As a team, we were super grateful for the opportunity to compete at the State Tournament this year because last year it was canceled altogether,” senior and Co-President of the public speaking class Sarah Svahn said.

“While things may look a little different this year, our goal of empowering the students of California through top tier competition remains the same. We’re so happy to have you join us!” the CHSSA website states. 

There are four different categories of events: interpretive, original, extemporaneous, and debate. The first four speech rounds for Dramatic Interpretation (DI), Humorous Interpretation (HI), Expository (Expos), Original Advocacy (OA), Original Oratory (OO), Oratorical Interpretation (OI), Original Prose and Poetry (OPP), and Point of Information (POI) were fully asynchronous where participants sent in videos for judging, and the semi-finals and finals were synchronous. Duo Interpretation (DI) was also fully asynchronous for all six rounds of the tournament. All Debate, Congress, International Extemporaneous (IX), National Extemporaneous (NX), and Impromptu were synchronous. 

“I thought the state tournament this year was fantastic! I was very pleased with how the tournament was run, especially for speech events. Limiting synchronous speaking helped the tournament operate much more efficiently and lessened the burden on students of having to find a quiet space to deliver their speeches for multiple days in a row,” senior and Congress Captain Ryan Gottschalk said.

“I competed in the State Tournament in speech, and while it was online, I felt so honored that I got to compete at such a high level among some of the best speakers in the state. The first four rounds were asynchronous, and if you made it to the semi-finals or finals, you could then perform your speech live on Zoom,” sophomore Eloise Anagnost explained. “Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the semi-finals, though I was first in the preliminary rounds! Overall, Miramonte as a whole did great and I felt so fortunate to be there.” 

“The tournament was all asynchronous for my division. It was a week-long event, and starting on Monday, we were thrown into three preliminary rounds. I ended up placing ninth in the state in Children’s Literature,” sophomore Jessica Milmoe said. “For Miramonte as a whole, we crushed it! We had a ton of people make it to the elimination rounds and people who placed. As a school, we placed top ten in California! The tournament was a ton of fun, and I am so grateful I was able to go!”