STERLING — Great Bend High School took home the third-place trophy on Saturday, Feb. 8, earning more points than 22 of the 24 other schools attending the Sterling High School Invitational Speech Tournament. Senior Patrick Heath led the Panthers with three medals: 1st place in Informative Speaking, 2nd place in Poetry Interpretation, and 3rd place in Impromptu Speaking. Heath is now qualified to compete at the State Speech Championship in all three of these events. However, rules dictate he choose only two events.
“Right now, I am focusing on my Informative Speech,” he said. “I’m not sure what my other event will be at State Champs. Hopefully, I can also qualify a duo interpretation and maybe a solo-acting event. I have until May to figure out what events I can be most successful in and which events will be best for our team to have a shot at a State sweepstakes trophy.”
Other GBHS students earning medals included Senior Bayle Sandy - 4th place in Dramatic Interpretation and 4th place in Prose Interpretation; Freshmen Kenia Balderrama and Katria Kindscher - 3rd place in Duet Acting; Sophomores Malachi Wasson and Isaiah Smith - 5th place in Duet Acting; and Isaiah Smith - 5th place in Dramatic Interpretation. The Great Bend Panthers also earned team points from Senior Hayden Honomichl; Juniors Thain Bowman and Bryce Hopkins; Sophomore Dalton Ruble; and Freshman Adeline Dougherty.
In addition to this weekend’s tournament at Sterling, the Panthers have been busy attending Student Congress events. On Jan. 31, the GBHS Student Congress delegates traveled to Newton. In the Novice Division, Adeline Dougherty placed 2nd, Maddix Pokorski placed 4th, CJ Gibson placed 5th, and Katrina Kindscher placed 6th. In the varsity division, GBHS was represented by Skylar Fletcher and Malachi Wasson.
The Student Congress also competed at Abilene on Friday, Feb. 8. In the Novice Division, Maddix Pokorski was elected presiding officer by his peers. Katria Kindscher placed 1st, Adeline Dougherty was 7th, Maddix Pokorski was 8th, Jessy Moeder was 9th, CJ Gibson was 12th, and Breanne Allen was 13th. In the Varsity Division, Dalton Dicks was 8th, Malachi Wasson was 9th, and Skylar Fletcher was 11th.
“The Great Bend High School Speech Team would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported our home tournament on Feb. 1st,” said forensics coach Kim Heath. “The team is grateful to community members who judge and to our high school support staff that helped everything run smoothly.” Coach Heath noted that the team was especially grateful to Barbara and Dan Watson who helped organize the judges for the tournament.
“The parents and friends of the Panther Speech Team really stepped up to help make the day possible. The invitational tournament was a huge success,” she said.
As the host school, Great Bend’s Speech Team didn’t get to compete for awards last Saturday. It provided a service to the forensic community in the area by giving an educational experience for those performing. About 70 competitors, representing seven central Kansas schools, spent the day in Great Bend competing.