A day at State Speech is a day of hurry up and wait. A day of so many highs and lows. Emotions run wild (500 or so walking hormones!) Nerves can attack even the most confident as they wait for those all important ratings.
All day long I heard, "I can't wait to read my ballots." Those ballots, you see, should justify the ratings. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.
Today, one was outstanding.
I have a young man, a sophomore, who competed in Spontaneous Speaking for the first time. Spontaneous Speaking is TOUGH. At the end of January coaches receive a list of ten possible topics for Spontaneous. Not the questions, the topics. The idea is the students will read up on those topics, watch the news, and form opinions.
At contest, the contestant draws three questions related to those topics, chooses one, and has THREE minutes to come up with a speech (no longer than five minutes). Really. Three minutes. I told you it was tough. Then they go in front of the judges and an audience and speak.
My student did pretty well when he spoke on "Are Independent Voters the Most Important Force in American Politics?" But for me, impossible to tell what he received. When scores came out he received two Division 1's and a Division 2 (overall then, he received a one). He couldn't wait to see what the judge who gave him a two had to say.
On the way home on the bus, I pass out ballots so kids can see what the judges had to say. There was some grumbling, some disagreements and some Aha moments.
And I hear my young man, "Mrs. Day, you have to read what the judge who gave me two had to say. It's awesome. He thinks I have great potential in Spontaneous. That I have great presence when I speak. He thinks my delivery is amazing."
And the judge did say all that, as well as telling the young man why he didn't get a one from him for this speech . This judge made a Division 2 feel like an Academy Award.
I listened contentedly as my student talked about his plans for this event next year...
Ahhh, the power of comments.