Telling the truth

April 2021

Sophomores Laura Anthofer, Ellie Reiling, and Landon James participated in the Iowa High School Speech Assocation’s individual speech contest in March. Anthofer and Reiling performed poetry that was written by themselves and other authors. James read a public address. Anthofer and Reiling advanced to State after each receiving a division one rating at districts. For these students, their goals were to make people see what is behind most people's smiles and laughter. They wanted to show nothing but raw emotion and feeling. Speech was an escape for them.

“What I have enjoyed most this year about speech was getting to put my words out there,” Anthofer said. “I am grateful I had a chance to express my feelings and hopefully I can eventually get to do it again.”

“This year, my topic was over the troubles life presents,” Anthofer continued. “In the poems that I picked, I really wanted to show the stuff behind people's problems because most people don’t see it. I hoped that my words would help others seek growth after their troubles.”

“Reading and going through the speech process itself wasn’t too emotional for me and I would say that it was more of a fun experience,” she said. “Since I wrote my own poems, though, I do think that deciding to share them was hard. That was a big step for me, but I couldn’t miss out on this opportunity to grow as a writer and student.” 

“Speech has had a huge impact on me. After I first started writing, I didn’t think anything would come of it, and they would just be a side hobby. When I heard of the opportunity, I was unsure if I wanted to share my own poetry or just read someone else’s. I thought it over and decided that this was a chance to grow and learn. Doing this speech competition, I have not only learned to be confident in my writing but also learned how to portray emotions and speak. I think all these will be definitely helpful in my future, whether in other speech completions or in my school years.”

“I am definitely looking forward to future competitions and hopefully we will have more involvement,” Anthofer concluded. “With only a few this year, I think it would be super fun to have a  larger group doing individual speeches next year.”

The next student is sophomore Ellie Reiling. Reiling is passionate about writing, and she shared her thoughts on participating in speech this year. 

“I read two poems -- one about my struggle with depression and my other poem I found was about some incidents that have happened,” Reiling said.  

“I enjoy sharing my stories and making them known to others that it’s a real thing that goes on in the world,” Reiling continued. 

“My subject is very touchy to most, myself also,” she said. “But, it needs to be known that these sorts of things happen on a daily basis and something needs to happen to help those who also struggle from these things.” 

“It has definitely made me feel better knowing that I could get my story out without having to make ‘jokes’ to seek help. I feel it has also impacted how I read like when to slow down and speed up so I can give the most emotion and everything needed.”

“I’m looking forward to just being able to participate in stuff like this, even if I don’t advance much during the competitions,” Reiling concluded. “Just being part of this group and getting to say I was a part of a speech with my peers is an honor to me and something I’ll always be proud of. I’m looking forward to future competitions that’ll follow through the years of high school and how it’ll affect my future.”

The CR-B speech students have pushed themselves past the nervousness and feelings of fear by reading these heart-wrenching poems. They believe there is more than just happiness behind an innocent smile. These poems were their way of telling people the truth.    

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