DGS speech and drama team has promising start to competition

By: 
Vicky McCray

The DGS Speech and Drama team won big at the Conrad meet earlier this month: (back from left) Vaughan Keimig, Rachel Burns, Julia Tonne, Faith Rosman, (front from left) Connor Simpson, Caitlyn Davis, Allen Simpson and Kathryn Simpson. Not pictured: Jacob Ayers.           Photo courtesy of Cheryl Simpson

 Members of the  DGS Speech and Drama team have been working on their individual events for the past few weeks. This year, instead of practicing at their respective schools, the team is meeting twice a week at Stanford.

“I believe this is really helping our cohesion,” said Geyser coach Cheryl Simpson.

Simpson went on to explain that each school has a student working with Lincoln Douglas Debate: Caitlyn Davis from Stanford, Connor Simpson from Geyser and Jacob Ayers from Denton.

“Practicing together is wonderful for these three,” Simpson said.

Additionally, Geyser’s Kathryn Simpson and Stanford’s Faith Rosman are both working on Humorous Oral Interpretation. They can watch each other practice and offer advice. 

Geyser’s Mitch Lucas is competing in Extemporaneous and has benefitted from presenting in front of both Simpson and Stanford coach Sean McConnaha.

“It is always great to get two different perspectives,” Simpson said.

Coaching for Denton this year is Dana Benge. She is the new English teacher at Denton as well.

The team also includes Julia Tonne of Stanford and Allen Simpson of Geyser. Two other students, Rachel Burns and Vaughan Keimig, have shown an interest in joining.

DGS competed in their first meet of the season on Saturday, Oct. 29, in Browning. Only four students were able to attend.

“But it was a great first meet,” Simpson said. 

Tonne placed third in Spontaneous Oral Interpretation (SPOI), Allen Simpson placed fourth in the same event, Connor Simpson placed seventh in Lincoln Douglas Debate and Kathryn Simpson placed sixth in Humorous Oral Interpretation. In each of the Simpson wins, it was their first meet performing in the particular event, so placing was a real feather in their caps. 

On Saturday, Nov. 12, the DGS team doubled their numbers, as eight students traveled to Conrad. They had a very successful day: On top of placing in their individual events, the team won Speech Sweeps for Class C. Sweeps is determined according to the number of points the team accumulates.

Students receive points for each finals place, first through eighth, and also for each first-place win in a round. The eight competitors amassed 58 points, 33 of which were awarded the Lincoln Douglas team. 

“It really shows what we can do when get the whole team together,” Simpson said. “We always love bringing home a trophy!”

Individual team members earned the following places in Conrad:

Allen Simpson, fourth in SPOI

Connor Simpson, first in Lincoln Douglas Debate

Kathryn Simpson, 10th in HOI 

Mitch Lucas, third in Extemporaneous

Julia Tonne, first in SPOI

Caitlyn Davis, second in Lincoln Douglas Debate

Faith Rosman, sixth in HOI

Jacob Ayers, eighth in Lincoln Douglas Debate

“This was the first meet for Faith, Caitlyn and Mitch,” Simpson said, “and they did a wonderful job! And our Lincoln Douglas team ended up with the two top spots in finals.”

Simpson explained that in Lincoln Douglas Debate the contestants are given a specific topic – prohibiting nuclear power plants – and a position – affirmative or negative. They must follow a very specific structure of presenting their argument, cross-examining their opponent and giving a rebuttal and conclusion.

“Caitlyn and Connor have been practicing for the last two to three weeks,” Simpson said, “sharing their cases and presenting all sides. Unfortunately, Jacob was unable to attend as many practices, but we hope to remedy that in the future.”

Rachel Burns and Vaughan Keimig traveled to Conrad with the group and observed. Simpson said they have indicated they intend to join the team for the next debate in Shelby on Dec. 3.

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