Geneseo Speech Team competes virtually

by Claudia Loucks correspondent

Despite being fully remote, high school speech teams are competing in the State of Illinois, including Geneseo High School.

Jeanne Brucher, librarian at both Geneseo High School and Geneseo Middle School and GHS Speech Team Advisor, said everything is done in a virtual format, so all rehearsals right now and even tournaments are done online with students competing safely from their homes.

When the team got underway in October, school was in the Hybrid format and coaches and advisors were able to work with the students in person after school, although that remained a challenge for speech as masks are required while students are in school. When classes are in remote mode, students meet with coaches on Google Meet to rehearse.

There are 10 students on this year’s GHS Speech Team who are “still competing in these unusual times,” Brucher said.

The first tournament was held at Rochelle on Dec. 12 when GHS junior Colin McConville earned third place Next in Category in Poetry and GHS senior Ava Perrigo and McConville earned third placed Varsity Humorous Duet Acting.

Brucher said, “This was a tournament with 18 teams from all over Northern Illinois such as Galena to Morris to Downers Grove South. We will have three tournaments in January (TF North, Mahomet-Seymour, Top of State by Jefferson High School in Rockford) and then the State Series starts with Regionals Feb. 6.”

She said, “The greatest challenge is just not having enough time with the students in person to work on their pieces. The students are good about rehearsing on their own, but there’s so little time fore us to work with them because our week days, which used to be for rehearsing, are used for getting all of the recordings done and uploaded for each weekend.”

The first tournament on Dec. 12 was all pre-recorded videos for competition.

“In January we will have our first tournaments with live-streaming performances for final rounds,” Brucher said.

“The good thing about rehearsing via Google Meets is that we get to see their faces,” she said. “When they rehearse in person at school, they have to keep their masks on. While it’s very disappointing to not go to the meets live and see the students from other schools, as a coach and judge, it’s definitely easier to judge online from home and not worry about getting on the road at 5 a.m. to travel to a winter tournament in the snow.”

Ava Perrigo and Colin McConville
Allison States