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WHS Speech Team
Waukegan High School

Coaches: lynne Shotola and Paul Friedrich

This page is kind of long, and I don't want you to be intimidated by it, so you can jump around to the different parts of it to find the information you want and need. Have some fun!!
This is the top!

(This is what I assume is going through your mind right now)
Speech team, huh? I've heard Ms. Shotola and Mr. Friedrich talk about it in class or around the halls, and I have heard on the announcements that the speech team wins awards at tournaments and stuff, but goodness gracious!! Speech team?? Why would I wanna do something likeTHAT?I mean, that sounds like people getting together to give speeches, like speech class on steroids. Why would I want to DO that?

Why Would I Want to DO That?

Well, there are a lot of reasons you might want to do that.

Top Twenty Reasons to Join
The Bulldog Speakers

20. It’s LOTS of fun!
19. It helps develop public speaking skills and self-confidence.
18. Speech team helps satisfy that competitive drive most of us feel.
17. It is a whole HECK of a lot of fun!!
16. Speech team provides a great forum for creative self-expression.
15. You get to meet lots of cool people from WHS and all over Illinois.
14. It is GREAT GOBSof fun!!!
13. Girls: lots of hot guys!! Guys: lots of hot girls!!
12. You earn a custom WHS Speech Team Pez Dispenser upon competition.
11. It’s more fun than a BARREL OF SQUID!!!!
10. It looks greaton college applications.
9. You get to hang out with Mr. Friedrich and Ms. Shotola after school!
8. It’s SO MUCH fun you might have to consult
a health professional!!!!!
7. Cool T-shirts with nonsensical team slogans!
6. You will earn the unwavering adoration of your peers.
5. It’s an INORDINATE amount of fun!!!!!!
4. You get to see Ms. Shotola at 6:00 on Saturday mornings!
(note to self: find a GOOD reason for #4)

2. We can work around any weird or complicated schedule.

Those reasons are all true and all in good fun. I imagine, however, that if you have no experience with competitive speech, you'd really like to know what on earth this speech team thing is all about. It just so happens that that is EXACTLY what this little page is for. So just poke around here and get an idea of what Forensics Individual Events is.

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What Do You Guys, uh, DO?

We do a great variety of different things, and the speech team offers something for everyone, really. What it mostly comes down to, though, is we compete--taking part in invitational tournaments and the State Series of Regionals, Sectionals and State at the end of our season. We are a competitive organization, an honest-to-goodness team. (Which is why Ms. Shotola gets that kinda crazy look in her eyes when we are called the "Speech Club".)

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Yes. Tournaments. Speech teams from all over the state host invitational tournaments throughout the season. So, on Saturday mornings we pack ourselves up in a van or a bus and head off to compete. Tournaments range in size from about 12-30 schools. At this point, with such a young team, we usually stick with the smaller tournaments and stay in the Chicago area. Last season we attended 6 tournaments, including the Regional Tourney.

The tournaments are set up in rounds. Early in the season there are 3 rounds in a tourney; later there are final rounds, for which students qualify through their premilinary rounds performances. In each round, the students perform their pieces in turn against 5-6 students from other schools doing the same event. Each competitor in the round is given a rank in relation to the others. The goal is to get the highest ranks possible: 1 being the best in round, 6 being the least best. :-) The competitors change for each round, so the students are not comptitng against the same speakers in every round (ideally). Rounds are judged by coaches, assistant coaches and hired, experienced judges. Most coaches are teachers at the schools where they coach, like Ms. Shotola and Mr. Friedrich.

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What Kind of Speeches are We Talking About?

All sorts of different kinds of performances! Speech team really does offer something for everyone.

Description of Events in Illinois IHSA
Forensics Individual Events

Forensics competition in the state of Illinois is governed by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). This means that all the competitors throughout the state follow the same rules and guidelines. We have 13 categories of competition in the state of Illinois. Each category of competition is called an event.

1. Original Oration--OO--In this event, the contestant writes his or her own 8 minute speech on an important, current topic, then performs it from memory. The speech can be informative or persuasive in nature, though persuasive seems to be the current trend on the northern Illinois circuit. This is basic public speaking and probably what most people have in mind when they think of speech team.

2. Oratorical Declamation--Dec--This event is similar to OO, but the piece is not original, not written by the student. The material is taken from another, published source and performed as a standard oration. Again, the time limit is 8 minutes and the topic should be current and compelling.

3. Special Occasion Speaking--SOS--Similar to OO, this is an original 8 minute speech. In this event, however, the speech is written and performed as though it were being delivered to a specific, real organization for a real purpose--for example, speaking to parents and potential JROTC students at the recruitment banquet.

4. Impromptu Speaking--Impromptu--This event is for the truly strong of heart and will. Each speaker is given a topic at the beginning of his or her speaking turn and is given 8 minutes to prepare and deliver a meaningful, organized, coherent speech. The topics for this event come from the categories of Names, Words or Quotations.

5. Extempore Speaking--Extemp--This event is similar to impromptu, in that it, too, is a limited time preparation event. The student blindly draws three topics from a number of cards. The speaker then chooses one of the topics, then has 45 minutes to prepare a 5 minute speech. The topics for this event are drawn from national and international issues of politics, social issues, commerce, government policy, international relations, etc.

6. Radio Speaking--Radio--This is essentially a radio news broadcast of 5 minutes. The speaker speaks in an empty room into a microphone. The material for the broadcast must be 24 hours fresh, making this a limited prep event, as well. The broadcast must include international, national and local news, as well as sports, weather and a commercial. Time is of the essence in this event. The time of the broadcast must range from 4:50-5:05 or the student is dropped a rank.

7. Verse Reading--Verse--The performer creates two “programs” of poetry, one will be used once, the other twice during the tournament (later in the season when the tournaments have final rounds, qualifiers will read both programs twice). A program consists of a single poem, or a number of shorter poems tied together by a unifying theme or idea. The performer reads the poems from a black binder in an interpretive manner. The time limit for this event is 6 minutes.

8. Prose Reading--Prose--This event is essentially the same as verse, except the speaker reads short stories (usually one per program) instead of poetry.

9. Dramatic Interpretation--DI--In this event, the speaker “cuts” a scene from a play, memorizes the piece and develops interpretations of each character and the action of the scene. The speaker must perform the piece, representing all the characters, without moving both feet from the ground (so the performer can pivot, but not walk). The material for this event is of a dramatic nature. The time limit for this event is 8 minutes.

10. Humorous Interpretation--HI--This is the same as DI, except the material is of a humorous nature. (DUH!!)

11. Original Comedy--OC--While this event may take many forms, of our circuit it usually takes the form of something like an original HI. It generally does not take the form of a stand-up comedy routine. The only basic requirements for this event are that the material be appropriate and funny and original and 8 minutes long.

12. Dramatic Duet Acting--DDA--Two students cut a two-player scene form a play and act it out. They cannot use props, costumes or make-up. They are only allowed two chairs and a table. This event is especially meaningful for student actors. The challenge of creating and portraying believable characters with nothing but ones own body and voice is rigorous and a great way to develop acting skills. The scene cannot exceed 8 minutes.

13. Humorous Duet Acting--HDA--This is the same as DDA, except, the material is of a humorous nature. (DUH!!)

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That's a LOT of Work!

Well, I won't exactly argue with you, but it isn't as bad as it probably seems. Competitors do NOT come up with different pieces for each tournament. Except for the limited prep events, the students work on the same pieces all season, using the constructive criticism of the judges to constantly improve their performances. In many ways, the work for speech team is very front-end heavy. Finding or writing materials, then memorizing them and developing a basic level of delivery require a fair amuont of time and effort. But once that foundtion is laid, the work is a matter of maintainance and improvement. In other words, once you get past the beginning work, it is extremely manageable. In fact, the beginning work is extremely manageable, too, if you give yourself enough time and are patient with yourself. Speech team doesn't really require time as much as it requires a basic level of committment--a level which is determined by the student. We don't ask that our team members pledge their lives to the team. Whatever level of committment the student wishes to establish is fine with us, as long as they are true to that committment.

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So What Do I Get Out of This?

Aside from the unwavering adoration of your friends, and sincere envy of your enemies? A lot. There is some indication of the rewards in the Top 20 Reasons linked above. In all seriousness, however, speech team really does offer a great deal to its participants. First and foremost, speech team really is fun--for a variety of reasons. We have a great team. Teams, by their nature, are wonderful things. It is a lot of fun to be a part of something like that, and all that team membership implies. The competition itself is fun. Meeting people from all over the state is fun. Improving yourself and seeing the tangible results in your rankings week after week is FUN!!! Ms. Shotola and Mr. Friedrich, while committed to developing a strong, victorious team which benefits the students on many levels, firmly believe that in speech team is not fun for its participants, it isn't doing its job.

Speech team also helps students develop skills and abilities and confidence. The competition and the work that goes into it is NOT easy. The skills the students develop vary somewhat depending upon the events they do, but all students improve their skills in public speaking, self-expression and performance. Many develop important academic skills, like writing, research, organizational skills and literary interpretation. Speech team can also be a great place to develop skills in acting. Because it isn't easy, competing of the speech team is something to be proud of, something that develops self-confidence and self-esteem. I have had the pleasure of seeing work on the speech team bring students out of their shells. All of these benefits are enduring and life-long. That's a lot to get out of an activity.

And then, of course, there are the awards. You can earn trophies and medals and ribbons. These are, of course, cool to have. (I still have mine!!) But they are merely tangible representations of the truly awesome feeling of having competed well and won a victory!!

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What If I Am Involved in LOTS of Other Activities?

I could be wrong, but I don't think anyone on the speech team is ONLY on the speech team. We pull kids from every corner of the extra-curricular spectrum. That is, of course, because speech offers such a wide variety of activity. We pride ourselves on being extremely flexible and being able to accommodate some of the strangest schedules. Mr. Friedrich and Ms. Shotola have coaching schedules listed for after school darn close to every day. And if a student can't make those times, we find a way to work it out. (Ms. Shotola lives very local and doesn't have a life, so she can coach just about any time. Tee Hee) As long as the student can make the Saturday tournaments and is committed to the team, we can ALWAYS work something out. If a student can make tourneys, but is really pressed for coaching time, we can work out a limited prep event. These can require less coaching time, once the student has gotten down the basics. This is just an example. What it boils down to, is that if the student wants to be involved and is committed to it, WE WILL FIND A WAY TO MAKE IT HAPPEN!!

I cannot be sure, but I believe our team meetings will be on Mondays this year. Your attendance at team meetings is desired, but not usually mandatory. So, if Mondays are a problem for you, that isn't a problem.

Our competitive season, one of the longest in IHSA, runs from November through February. We do NOT go out every weekend, and as I mentioned before, your level of committment and involvement is your choice. However much you wish to be involved, we will be glad to have you. Our pre-season, during which the participants choose events, find/write materials and develop their basic performances, starts as soon as humanly possible after returning to school in the fall. The earlier we start preparing, the better off we are for the whole season.

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The WHS Speech Team Motto:

It's not the
Size of the Dog in the Speech,
It's the
Size of the Speech in the DOG!!!

It doesn't really make sense, but we kinda like it that way!

OK, You Have Convinced Me Speech Team is the Way To GO. What Now?

Well THAT is simple. You just need to touch base with one of our team members or coaches.
Mr. Friedrich can be found in W127, and Ms. Shotola in W241.
W241 is the location of the "Speech Team Office". WOOO HOOOO--we have an OFFICE!!!!

If you are SO excited that you need to do something about this right now,
drop Ms. Shotola an email at
Of course, you can drop her an email with questions and ideas and whatnot, too. She is good about checking her mail.

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