Speech Team

All sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students have an opportunity to be part of the Speech Team. The St. Mary Magdalen team will participate in three tournaments sponsored by Catholic high schools in the Seattle area. Last year, these tournaments occurred in December, January, and February and students travelled to Bishop Blanchet High School, Seattle Prep High School, and Archbishop Murphy Catholic High School. Typically these all-day events are held on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Participation in these tournament-type events is an excellent way for students to evelop speaking skills. Students will experience significant growth in their speaking abilities during each tournament. Participating as a member of the Speech Team is also great preparation for high school.

Parental Involvement

Parental involvement is mandatory for your child to participate on the St. Mary Magdalen Speech Team. The St. Mary Magdalen Speech Team is coordinated and facilitated by parents. Parents are needed to run practices at school and provide judging at tournaments. For practice to be successful, the team needs at least one parent for every three students participating to coach on a weekly basis. Likewise, at least five parents will be needed to judge at the speech tournaments. Training for these tournaments will be offered by Bishop Blanchet in December.

Interested in helping to coach Speech Team? An introductory meeting will be held in early September or October to describe the student and parent expectations, the speech tournament format, and the various speech categories in which students compete.

Speech Tournament Fees

Participation in Speech Team does require a fee. This fee covers registration for tournaments, comprised of the school’s entry fee and students’ individual speech categories fees. Fees must be paid in full prior to competing.

Practicing Your Speech

Being a part of the Speech Team takes dedication. Practice times will be set at the parent meeting early in the year. During practice, which is typically weekly, students will work in small groups, with parent volunteers, to enhance the delivery of their speeches. While students will be provided the opportunity to practice at school, the majority of preparation will need to take place at home.

At home, students are responsible for:

  • writing their speeches
  • selecting, timing, and editing readings
  • preparing their speeches with parental assistance.

Be sure you are ready to work before committing to St. Mary Magdalen’s Speech Team!

Speech Categories

  • Dramatic Interpretive Reading:  A reading of one or more selections from a book (prose), play or poetry that is serious in nature. TIME LIMIT:  6 ½ to 7 ½ minutes (includes intro) – max = 8 minutes
  • Humorous Interpretive Reading: A reading from a book, play or poetry that is humorous in nature. Introduction YES; TIME LIMIT:  6 ½ to 7 ½ minutes (includes intro) – max = 8 minutes
  • Duo Interpretative Reading:  A cutting from a published prose or play involving two or more characters. Material can be humorous or serious and is presented by two individuals. This is not an acting event (no costumes, props, etc.). Introduction YES; TIME LIMIT:  6 ½ to 7 ½ minutes (includes intro) – max = 8 minutes
  • Editorial CommentaryThe student will take a position and present a speech he/she has prepared on a topic of current interest/concern. NO Introduction: STRICT TIME LIMIT: 1 minute/45 seconds to 2 minutes
  • Impromptu:  Students must “think on their feet” and deliver an organized presentation without the use of notes or other material. The contestant will have two minutes to prepare and will then speak for a maximum of five minutes on one of the choices. NO Introduction: TIME LIMIT: 1 – 5 minutes
  • Oratory: This is a memorized speech written by the student to persuade the audience. Speech must be the original work of the speaker (with no more than 100 words of quoted material). NO Introduction: Memorized: TIME LIMIT: 6 ½ to 7 ½ minutes (max = 8 minutes)
  • Expository:  This is a speech written by the student to inform the audience. You will describe, clarify, explain and/or define an idea, object, concept, or process. Visual aids (props) are allowed. Mostly memorized: TIME LIMIT:  6 ½ to 7 ½ minutes (max = 8 minutes)