Contributed by Betsy Schrock

Contributed by Betsy Schrock Day one of competition, the students take some time to pose for pictures to send to their parents and families in Iowa.

Five freshmen from Muscatine High School spent the week of June 13-17 in Salt Lake City with over 11,000 other high school students from all around the world at the National Speech and Debate 2016 competition. Running at the same time as the national event was the Speech and Debate World competition.
Coach Davis Schrock says the group of five is the largest that MHS has sent in recent history. The team worked on prepared speeches from a variety of topics throughout the school year.
The speeches were presented on Monday and Tuesday in six rounds, with each round being ranked. In order to advance, teams and individuals had to receive a top-three ranking in each round. After the initial rounds were completed, the field of competitors was narrowed to 60 in each category.
While the duo of Bria Holthe and Karissa Burton, duo of Wyatt Mason and Jeremiah Daniels, and individual Ezekiel Ellis each placed well in several rounds, none were able to break through to the secondary rounds.
The lone soloist, Ezekiel Ellis, says there is both a positive and negative to not having a partner. “You have more control over how the piece feels and flows; however, if something goes wrong, or the energy is not there, it is all up to you.”
While not practicing and performing, the team was able to spend time enjoying Salt Lake City, meeting student competitors from various parts of the country and even from other countries.
All of the students agreed that the trip was more than they expected it to be. Karissa Burton found the trip inspiring. “It’s pretty amazing to be here. When you get to this level, everyone deserves to be here. The speeches we are seeing are simply the best. It is such a great experience.”
Bria Holthe echoed that sentiment, saying, “The speeches are all so well done, with such variety. They range from heartbreaking where you are crying, and the next one is hilarious and you are laughing.”
The team of Daniels and Mason pointed out some of the more social aspects of the trip. Jeremiah Daniels liked meeting several new people. “It’s great meeting the competition, spending time with them. Everyone is from a different place and that is really fun.”
Wyatt Mason added, “We met people from all over the place. From as far away as Alaska and Hawaii, and even Africa and Russia. Most of the qualifiers are upperclassmen, or have even graduated. There aren’t that many freshmen here, and everyone has been so great offering us advice and even offering support for next year.”
All five of the freshmen say they feel motivated to improve and qualify next year. A challenge has been issued by coach Schrock. “They’ve set the standard high. They’ve got to work hard to be even better next year, but I believe they can do it.”

Contributed by Betsy Schrock Students and coaches take time for hiking and taking in the Salt Lake City scenery on Sunday prior to competition beginning on Monday, June 13.

Contributed by Betsy Schrock
Students and coaches take time for hiking and taking in the Salt Lake City scenery on Sunday prior to competition beginning on Monday, June 13.