RAHS speech team places at nationals

Jill Yanish
Review staff

Roseville Area High School speech team member Logan Daniels thought life presented too many choices, so he chose to write and present about it. His dignified rant against life choices landed him a fourth place finish at the National Forensic League’s national speech and debate tournament.

Team captain 

Daniels and four other RAHS speech team members competed at the national tournament June 16-21 in Birmingham, Ala., with four of them placing at the tournament. Their success gained RAHS a School of Excellence Award, a recognition only given to the nation’s top 20 speech schools.

Jordan Riebe and Emma Erler placed third in the duo interpretation category; Syrah Sherwood placed fourth in storytelling and advanced to the top 30 in drama; Daniels placed fourth in oratory; all of the students who placed are 2013 graduates. Sophia Miliotis advanced to the top 30 in the humorous interpretation category.

“It’s hard to put into words how proud I was seeing those students on stage representing our team and our school … the level of commitment is beyond what most high school students have,” Jodi Kyllonen, RAHS speech team advisor, said.

Tough competition

Each speech category had approximately 250 best of the competitors at the national level, Kyllonen said. Minnesota is considered the hardest qualifying state in terms of competition for advancing to nationals because seven of the top 20 speech schools in the nation are in Minnesota, Kyllonen said.

She is proud to say RAHS is one of the 20.

Hard work

While school ended June 7, the summer slide did not begin for the five RAHS speech members. Instead, they continued writing, revising, practicing their speeches for nationals, a process they began in October. 

“As the activities director, I am extremely proud of the job the coaches and the students have done not only at nationals but all throughout the speech season,” Jeff Whisler, RAHS director of activities, said.

A legend of success

The scene of nationals is not new for the RAHS speech team. The team regularly has members compete at the National Speech and Debate Tournament. However, this year brought a higher than average number of winners at nationals for RAHS. 

As for Daniels, his final year on the speech team surpassed his expectations.

“I didn’t have lofty goals,” Daniels said. “Making it into finals at nationals was unexpected. It’s been an incredible season.”

The team’s other coaches include Jessica Fedje, Bret Hemmerlin and Ashley Mardell.

Jill Yanish can be reached at jyanish@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7825.

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