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Downers Grove North High School Speech Team 1988 - 2011. Welcome!.
Speech Team 1988 - 2011
From 1988 – 2011, I proudly participated as a coach and director for the Downers Grove North High School Speech Team. Whenever I mention that to people, the first thing people ask me is, “You mean debate?” No. Speech (forensics) is a completely different activity, combining 14 competitive events in the areas of public address, interpretation and limited preparation speaking. Speech attracts all kinds of kids: artistic, intelligent, shy, opinionated. Through this activity students learn to express themselves in a variety of different ways. I have always loved being a part of this activity, so I thought I would create this kiosk as a way to show people what it is I’m talking about all the time. Take a stroll through this site, see some of the wonderful things I’ve experienced throughout my 23 years, and find out the “nuts and bolts” of speech. I hope you enjoy perusing this as much as I enjoyed creating it.
Having competed in speech (Original Oratory and Extemporaneous Speaking) my senior year (1982-83) at Schlarman High School in Danville, Illinois, I was immediately hooked on this activity. Throughout my undergraduate years at the University of Illinois-Urbana, I judged local tournaments and worked with students at Schlarman. When I graduated from the University of Illinois and moved to the Chicago suburbs in 1988, I wrote letters to local high schools asking for an opportunity to judge tournaments for them to earn some extra money. One day I received a phone call from a parent, Rita Keogh, who took over the Downers Grove North High School speech team because there was no one available/willing to coach, and her daughter was a member of the team. She called hoping I would come and help her coach. I joined her in the fall of 1989. With the exception of 3 years in the mid-90’s when I coached at Hinsdale Central High School, I have been a part of the Downers Grove North High School Speech tradition!I started at Downers Grove North High School in 1989 with a team of approximately 12 students. When I retired from coaching in 2011, the team had approximately 80 students and a coaching staff of 8. In the late 90’s I had the pleasure to be united with Missy Carlson, who has shared the team’s triumphs and challenges with me. Together, we achieved what many thought was impossible, and I thank God for her and for the experience. It’s been an incredible journey.
Performance in the Round
An event only contested during the Illinois State High School (IHSA) tournament series. It consists of as many students as you deem appropriate for your selection who perform in a circle. The time limit is 15 minutes.
IHSA Regional Championships: 4
2006 – Downers Grove North High School
2007 – Downers Grove North High School
2008 – Downers Grove North High School
2010 – Naperville Central High School
IHSA Sectional Championships: 1
1999 – Warren (Township) High School
IHSA State Qualifiers: 9
2004 – Naperville Central High School - 4th Place
2005 – Carbondale High School - 6th Place
Invitational Tournament Awards: 39
Invitational Tournament Champions: 6
IHSA Regional Championships: 2
2009 – Downers Grove North High School
2010 – Naperville Central High School
IHSA State Tournament: Top 10 Finishes
2009 – 5th Place
2002 – 6th Place
1998 – 7th Place
2001 – 8th Place
2008 – 8th Place
2011 – 8th Place
2007 – 10th Place
State Tournament Qualifiers: 67
State Tournament Finalists: 31
DDA – 2 ES – 5 HDA – 1 HI – 5 IS – 5
INFO – 2 OD – 2 OO – 3 OC – 1 PR – 2
PT – 1 RS – 1 SOS – 1
State Champions: 4
Kathy Rooney – 1998 – Extemporaneous Speaking
Kathy Rooney – 1998 – Impromptu Speaking
Beth Rooney – 2001 – Original Oratory
Maggie Butzen – 2011 – Original Oratory
National Tournament Qualifiers: 20
National Tournament Semifinalists and Finalists: 8
Tim Bourn – 2010 – Expository Speaking – 2nd Place
Anand Oroskar – 2004 – Prose Interpretation – 4th Place
Elliot Karl – 2007 – Prose Interpretation – 4th Place
Natalie Self – 2004 – Expository Speaking – 5th Place
Elliot Karl – 2007 – Poetry Interpretation – 5th Place
Nick Reinhart – 2007 – Prose Interpretation – Semifinalist
Jordan Frank – 2009 – Expository Speaking - Semifinalist
Tim Bourn – 2010 – Prose Interpretation - Semifinalist
I have worked with a number of students in the 22 years I have been a coach, but only a handful of students “lived and breathed” speech. One of those students was Elliot Karl. His commitment to succeed and his willingness to go far beyond his comfort zone made coaching him a sheer joy. It also helped that he was also one of our most decorated National Forensic League (NFL) finalists, appearing in 2 finals (Prose and Poetry) in the same year. However, my favorite “moment” with Elliot was coaching him in Dramatic Interpretation for the NFL tournament where he performed a monologue from Dan Butler’s “The Only Worse Thing You Could Have Told Me”. The emotion, power and honesty he brought to that performance brings tears to my eyes when I just think about it. That performance is, in my opinion, the most cherished coaching accomplishment of my career.
Alison McDowell and Bob Moore were my first state qualifiers in 1990 (Oratory and Special Occasion Speaking, respectively). I was sitting in the auditorium of Downers Grove South High School after the awards ceremony crying at the accomplishment, and coach from another school, Greg Harris from Hinsdale Central, walked up and congratulated us and said to me, “You will never forget this moment. It will guide you for as long as you coach.” Greg and I became good friends, and I coached for him at Hinsdale Central in the mid-1990’s until he retired from coaching.
Samantha Flippin was a girl who, in 2 years on the team, did not have very much success. She worked hard, but she was somewhat shy and other students did not accept her as their equal. But I saw something there, and took a chance by giving her a spot on our Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state series team (there could only be one entry per event). I worked with her in Poetry Reading, and the expression on her face (and others on the team) when she won the Regional tournament (defeating two state finalists) will be something I will never forget. It always reminds me why I stayed with coaching for so long.
For as long as I had been coaching, Downers Grove North had always lived in the shadow of sister-school Downers Grove South. DGS had won the state title numerous titles, had a team easily 3 times the size of ours, and had an incredible coaching staff led by the incomparable Jan Heiteen. Because of our proximity, we were always paired in the same IHSA regional, and year after year we were beaten by DGS. However, over time we gained ground on them, and in 2009, we were able to finally win a Regional title. As a coach, it is one of my proudest achievements. It stands as a testament to hard work, dedication and perseverance.
While Tim Bourn was not a shy kid, he was always a constant fixture on the team having a small amount of success. He tried many events, and didn’t seem to really have a huge amount of success. His senior year, he finally found public address as his calling, earning a 3rd place state finish in Informative Speaking. At the NFL national tournament, he placed 2nd in Expository Speaking, but my fondest memory of Tim will be his Prose Reading entry. It was one of those moments when you slap your head and think, “why didn’t we give this even to him sooner!” His attention to detail and deadpan delivery will never be equaled.
Informative Speaking is the original expository oral presentation of the student. The purpose of Informative Speaking is to guide students in research, organization and the development of a sense of literary style in speech designed to express their own interests.
The content, format, style and thoughts of the material must be the original product of the student. No more than 150 words in the speech may be direct quotation. A fabricated topic/subject may not be used. The student should describe, clarify, illustrate or define an object, idea, concept or process. The topic of the speech should be of current interest and have a purpose. The material should show preparation, knowledge and clear thought. Students may use notes, manuscripts or speak from memory. The time limit for the performance is 8 minutes.
Oratorical Declamation is the oral presentation of persuasive or inspirational material of literary merit, such as editorials, essays, speeches, etc., originally prepared by another person. The purpose of Oratorical Declamation is to acquaint students with notable examples of persuasive or inspirational literature and give them opportunity to develop skills of interpretation and delivery through the preparation and oral presentation of such examples.
Material must come from printed published sources. It is recommended that the material be pertinent to current problems. The time limit for the performance, including introduction, is 8 minutes. The speech will be presented from memory.
Original Oratory is the oral presentation of the work of the student and is designated to persuade. The purpose of Original Oratory is to guide students in research, organization, and development of a sense of a literary style in a speech designed to express their personal convictions.
The content, format, style and thought of the material must be the product of the contestant. No more than 150 words in the speech may be direct quotation. Students may use notes or manuscripts or speak from memory. The time limit for the performance is 8 minutes.
Special Occasion Speaking is a speech which is the original work of the student and, in which, the student is himself or herself at his or her current age speaking in a realistic situation for the purpose of entertaining an audience. The purpose of Special Occasion Speaking is to provide an opportunity for students to present a practical message in an entertaining manner under simulated “real life” conditions.
The content, format, style, and thought of the material must be solely the product of the student. Not more than 150 words of the speech may be direct quotation. Though Special Occasion Speaking is a speech to entertain, the entertaining elements should supplement, not replace, the speech structure. Thus, if the entertaining elements were removed from the speech, there would still be a clear speech structure. Students may use notes or manuscripts or speak from memory. The time limit for the performance is 8 minutes.
Dramatic and Humorous Interpretation are the oral presentation of literature. The purpose of these events is to increase the student’s understanding of communication of ideas through performance and to encourage the application of theories of oral interpretation.
Material must be from a printed published source and may be from plays, verse plays, teleplays, screenplays or other works. One character plays, monologues and soliloquies will be allowed. Though the performer may select to do multiple monologues, the presentation will be limited to a single work. The time limit for the performance, including introduction, is 8 minutes.
No properties of any kind may be used in presenting the readings and the script must not be held.
Prose Reading is the oral interpretation of prose literature. The purpose of Prose Reading is to acquaint students with the genre and the application of the principles of oral interpretation.
Material must be prose literature. Sources of material include cuttings from novels, short stories, biographies, nonfiction, letters and diaries. Selections for this event may be chosen from any source deemed appropriate but must come from printed, published sources. The material should be a logical cutting to give the interpretation intended by the author and should give the listener the impression that the presentation is total and complete. The cuttings must contain less than 50% dialogue. The time limit for the performance, including introduction, is 8 minutes.
The script will be held. No properties or visual aids will be allowed.
Poetry Reading is the oral interpretation of poetry. The purpose of Poetry Reading shall be to acquaint students with the genre and the application of the principles of oral interpretation. Each student will prepare one (1) program of one(1) or more poem(s). Selections for this event may be chosen from any source deemed appropriate but must come from printed, published sources. Compilations of poems are permissible. The time limit for the performance, including introduction, is 8 minutes.
The script will be held. No properties or visual aids will be allowed.
Original Comedy is the oral presentation of the work of the student and designed to entertain. The purpose of Original Comedy is to enable students to employ their creative skills in the writing and presentation of humorous material.
The content, format, style and thought of the material must be the product of the contestant. There shall be no restriction on form. It may be dialogue, monologue or a combination of both. Not more than 150 words of the speech may be direct quotation. The material should be one of general interest and not offensive to any audience; should be organized around some unifying idea and should be entertaining. The delivery should be lively and clear; the voice should be pleasing and the volume adequate; the speaker’s appearance should provide no distraction. Students may use notes or manuscripts or speak from memory. The time limit for the performance is 8 minutes.
Dramatic and Humorous Duet Acting are the presentations of dramatic or humorous selections by two individuals. The purpose of these events is to give students the opportunity of developing their characterization and acting skills in a confined setting.
Material must come from a single printed, published source and must meet high standards of good literature. Cuttings from plays, verse plays, teleplays, screen plays or other works may be presented. The time limit for the performance, including introduction, is 8 minutes.
A table and/or two stools or two chairs will be the only properties permitted. A script may not be held. No lights, staging, costumes, makeup, sound effects, etc. will be permitted.
Extemporaneous Speaking is an event in which a student is given forty-five (45) minutes to prepare an original speech indicating his/her knowledge of current events concerning an assigned topic. The purpose of Extemporaneous Speaking is to encourage a student to gain a broad knowledge of current events and to develop the ability to analyze the significance of such events and prepare, in a short period of time, a meaningful speech which can be delivered in a skillful manner.
Topics shall concern events which have been of state, national or international importance at any time between the beginning of the current school year and the date of the contest. They shall be worded in the form of question, which does not elicit blanket yes or no responses. The student shall draw three (3) questions/topics and, within one (1) minute, choose the one on which to speak. There are a separate set of questions/topics for each round of competition. The time limit for the performance is 6 minutes.
Impromptu Speaking is an event in which a student is given two (2) minutes to prepare and six (6) minutes to deliver an original limited preparation speech. The purpose of Impromptu Speaking is to utilize creativity and logic to organize and deliver a meaningful speech in a skillful manner.
Topics shall be chosen from the following categories: Quotations, Words, Phrases and Proverbs. Categories will vary from round to round. In a given round, all students within the same section will speak on a topic of their choice from a selection of three topics. Judges shall see the three topics that the students may select. Topics for each round shall be from the same genre: Quotations, Words, Phrases and Proverbs. Two (2) minutes of mandatory prep time will be given in the performance room and six (6) minutes of speaking time will be allowed.
Radio Speaking is the presentation of a newscast, including a commercial. The purpose of Radio Speaking is to encourage concentration on delivery and style.
From a script approximately fifteen (15) minutes in length, the student will prepare a newscast by deleting any parts or items. No new articles or items may be added except transition sentences, introductions and conclusions. However, the use of creative transitions, commentary and colorful verbs in sports, weather and the commercial is allowed to enhance the performance. The newscast will include a commercial advertising some well-known product or service. A different script and commercial will be supplied for each round of competition. The student will have exactly forty-five (45) minutes to prepare the broadcast script. The student must deliver the newscast between the times of 4:50 and 5:05 (the expected time is 5:00) or be disqualified. The student keeps time with a stopwatch during the newscast delivery to ensure keeping within the time requirements.