OJH Speech and Debate Team Earns Third Place at Willard Competition

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Students show off their awards and trophies from the competition before they head home on the bus. This competition lasted all day and resulted in Ozark placing 3rd overall.

Ozark Junior High Speech and Debate Team competed in their third competition this year on Saturday April 6 at Willard. Overall, the team won third place.

At speech and debate competitions, students perform scripts for chosen categories. They could participate in one or more events, depending on what they had practiced and memorized during class. Instead of everyone getting to go, only the top three from every category participated for this competition.

Eighth grader Emma Dodge participated in Dramatic Interpretation with the script “Ellen Foster” by Kay Gibbins. The script is about Ellen, an 11-year-old girl, who has an abusive father and a mother with rheumatic fever. Emma explains how difficult the performance was for her.

“I felt like I was put under a lot more pressure than any other competitors because only the top three people from each category could get in from Ozark this time. I was glad I got first because that means I was able to help my Speech and Debate team place higher.”

In their two previous competitions, the team earned second place both times. In Willard, they placed third out of nine schools. However, ten of the competitors from OJH placed within the top ten in their designated individual categories. Koble Schiffner place 1st in Expository Speaking. Griffin Shaw and Koble Schiffner got 4th place in Policy Debate. Brent Taylor got 7th place in Humorous Interpretation. Emma Dodge got 1st place in Dramatic Interpretation. Trisha Thornton got 1st place in Poetry and 3rd place in Prose. Caleb Hays got 3rd place in Extemporaneous Speaking. Sam Paynter and Whitney Beckett got 2nd place in Improvisation Duet Acting.

Ms. Houston, the Speech and Debate teacher, is confident in her students and on how they will fare in their next competition.

“We’ve had a great year so far. The kids get better and better every time we go out. Our next tournament is this Saturday in Republic.  That tournament will be the hardest one this year because it’s going to be so big.”