The Spyglass

The student news site of Galena High School.

The Spyglass

The Spyglass

GHS Speech

A Force to be Reckoned With

After a historical 2023-2024 season, the GHS speech team has plenty to show for all their hard work. The team competed in a total of 11 tournaments from December to February, including the state series. There was also a record-breaking number of participants, with 12 members, including five new freshmen.

Every Saturday, the team traveled to schools around the to compete in tournaments that usually lasted between eight and ten hours. “Of course, waking up at 4:00 in the morning to get to our tournaments is not the most fun thing in the world,” said team captain Emma Blaum ‘24. “But, it’s all worth it once you get there. You get to meet a lot of different people at the tournaments and create some great friendships and experiences. You also get to do a lot of team bonding.”

At the IHSA Regional in Freeport on February 3, the team competed in all 14 events. In order to qualify for Sectionals, one needs to place in the top four in their event. Five competitors and eight events advanced to the IHSA Sectional in Rochelle on February 10.

These competitors were: Liliana Asta ‘26, placing 3rd in Special Occasion Speaking and Humorous Duet Acting; Emma Blaum, placing 1st in Oratorical Declamation and 3rd in Radio Speaking; Julia Dominiak ‘25, placing 2nd in Original Oratory and 3rd in Extemporaneous Speaking; Charlie Duncan ‘24, placing 2nd in Original Comedy and 3rd in Humorous Duet Acting; and Macklan Murphy ‘27, placing 4th in Informative Speaking. Also competing at the IHSA Regional were Sabine Blaum ‘27, Caitlin Kennedy ‘27, Adison Leitzinger ‘25, Luna Pham ‘27, Sophia Wachter ‘25, and Madison Wild ‘24.

At sectionals, the team faced some of the toughest competition they had yet. There are 12 speakers in each event, and one needs to be in the top 6 or 7 to make it to the final round. Then, from the finalists, only 3 advance to the state tournament at the Peoria Civic Center. Every competitor put in the work that was needed to do the best they could at sectionals, and they tried their hardest to represent GHS well.

Sectional finalists were Liliana Asta and Emma Blaum, with Asta placing 6th in Special Occasion Speaking and Blaum placing 1st in Oratorical Declamation. Blaum qualified for the state tournament as Galena’s first sectional champion since 2012. This is also the second year in a row Blaum has qualified for the state tournament.

At the Peoria State Tournament on Feb 17, Blaum faced incredible competition from all across the state. She finished 8th out of 18, falling short of the final round by only two places, but still putting her in the top 8 public speakers in all of Illinois.

“This was an awesome season,” said coach Susan Bookless. “The team worked really hard and tried to do the best they could. I am so proud of what each of them accomplished. I will miss Charlie, Madison and Emma very much. They have been such leaders on our team and set an expectation of excellence that will carry over to next year. ”

Overall, the 2023-2024 speech season was one to remember, with great memories being made that will last a lifetime. “My mom always told me: ‘Competing in Speech isn’t all about winning, but learning and continuing to move forward’”, said Dominiak. “To another great year!”

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