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On Saturday, the Beatrice High School speech team hosted nine local high schools for The Big O Speech Meet.

Ed Ankrom, a speech coach at BHS, said that roughly 200 students were competing in the meet.

“We have two rounds where the kids are competing, and then they get ranked and scored,” Ankrom said. “Then we take those scores, and through a process take the top six into finals. Then they do it a third time in front of judges, where you get ranked first place through sixth place and earn medals.”

According to the Nebraska School Activities Association website, each type of speech has different factors to be judged on, with most speeches being judged on presentation, delivery and overall effectiveness.

BHS junior Holly Fischer and freshman Mackenzie Riesen participated in a duet acting speech about annoying flight attendants and passengers.

Fischer said the process went quickly after Riesen asked her to duet.

“We spent one day just looking online for speeches that we liked because we wanted something that fit both of our personalities,” Fischer said. “We found this one and we loved it, because it’s sassy and really fun. Then we had to tell Ankrom, and he had to look at it and then order it.”

Fischer said their speech ended up coming together at the last minute.

“You just kind of come to the competitions and you hope that you can do well under the pressure,” Fischer said. “It’s really fun to watch everyone else, too, because there’s so many different (speeches) that you never would have imagined.”

Ankrom said about a third of the students participating were ranked novices, so the main focus of the meet was for them to get feedback on their speeches.

BHS placed eighth overall, with Josie Guernsey and Kayla Gaertig getting sixth place for duet acting, and Zander Wells getting first place for humorous prose.

Malcolm High School received first place with 105 total points, followed by Auburn High School with 53 points and Humboldt Table Rock Steinauer with 40 points.

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