Speech students head to state

ABOVE: Members of the Fairmont Speech team atop a Fairmont Fire Department truck Thursday afternoon outside of Fairmont High School. Following a school-wide send-off, 13 students and three coaches headed to the state tournament in Shakopee.

FAIRMONT – State-bound. Since December, the Fairmont speech team has seen numerous successes and now is sending 14 students across 13 categories to compete in the Minnesota State High School League Speech and Debate tournament, which starts today in Shakopee. The tournament gathers the best speakers in all of Minnesota, vying for the spot for the best of the state.

Fairmont sent the following students and their respective categories to the MSHSL State Speech tournament: Senior Abi Peyman in Great Speeches; Senior Andrew Haefner in Extemporaneous Speaking; Senior Sydney Blomster in Informative Speaking; Junior Grace Simpson in Duo Interpretation; Junior Oliver Thedens in Duo Interpretation; Junior Dominick Lund-May in Extemporaneous Speaking; Junior Kelsey Hunter in Informative Speaking; Junior Alayna Haefner in Original Oratory; Junior Zoey Tasseff in Creative Expression; Sophomore Bel Lutterman in Original Oratory; Sophomore Thomas Hamlet in Humorous Interpretation; Freshman Leon Yang in Humorous Interpretation; Freshman Clark Hazard in Extemporaneous Speaking; Freshman Allie Streit in Serious Interpretation of Prose.

The speech team is guided by the senior captains Isaiah Lockwood, Andrew Haefer, Abi Peyman and Sydney Blomster. The speech team is coached by Kathleen Walker, Erik Walker and Miles Duffey. The three coaches all are teachers at Fairmont High School.

On Thursday, the day of send-off, student participants reflected with great joy about their qualification into the Minnesota State tournament, sharing their personal goals and emotions for the competition in Shakopee.

“I’m really excited to hear awesome speakers around the state,” Lutterman said, a second-time state participant.

“I’m so excited to compete this year. I’m so happy to bring such a big team this year, it’s so fun,” Blomster commented. This will be her fourth time competing in the state tournament.

“I can’t wait to see the other Extemporaneous Speakers with me in the finals,” Lund-May remarked about the other Fairmont Ex. Speakers who qualified for State (Clark Hazard and Andrew Haefner), sweeping the category. For Lund-May this will be his third year participating in State.

Fairmont received a second place State Championship plaque in 2021. The students agreed that they are hopeful to earn another one this year, and overall to perform their best.

The state-qualifying speech participants received a proper send-off in the Fairmont gymnasium with the student body as a whole recognizing the success all students worked endlessly for.

“We’re ready to get and vie for that plaque,” said Kathleen.


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