Akron-Westfield Community School officials have been notified that one of the seven Large Group Speech teams was selected as “Outstanding Performers” and received for All-State honors.
Of the seven, three received “Superior” ratings at the state Iowa High School Speech Association’s Group Speech Contest Feb. 3, and were considered for the All-State honors.
Receiving All-State honors was A-W’s Varsity Readers Theatre team’s performance of Jerome McDonough’s “Carriers,” which was on the topic of sexually-transmitted diseases. The team consisted of Taron Banks, Corbin Bundy, Dominick Foley, Alex Franker, Spencer Frankl, Eliza Kjar, Adam Kroksh, Katlyn Mace, Emily Meerdink, Emily Miller, Carla Robinson, Kyle Schroeder and Jaclyn Smith.
“Carriers” was not chosen as one of the groups to perform at the All-State Speech Festival, which is Saturday, Feb. 16.
However, the IAHSSA’s notification letter stated, “These students represent the highest accomplishment in Speech and Drama among our young people.”
Groups qualify for All-State recognition by their performances at the state contest. At least two judges must nominate a group for All-State status. Then there is a complicated point system to determine which of the groups will perform at the festival and then the others are named as non-performers but they all maintain the same All-State status.
The Large Group Speech contestants are directed by Susan Anderson of Akron.
She was very excited and thrilled for her students and feels they are deserving of such high honors and praise.
“This is the ultimate honor for Large Group Speech students,” said Anderson. “It is an ‘unstated’ goal from the beginning of the season. We have become a threat (to other group contestants) in Readers Theatre every year but this honor is not automatic.”
“It takes dedication to many small details,” she said, “and just because you happen to be selected to Akron-Westfield Readers Theatre does not guarantee you a trip to All-State.”
“Competition has become more and more intense and difficult every year,” said Anderson. “Competing against Class 4A schools who have four to five coaches is a huge challenge. So far, we’ve been holding our own. I am very proud of these students.”
According to Anderson, “Closing comments from the Iowa High School Speech Association says it all, ‘Once again, congratulations to Akron-Westfield for the honor of being selected as outstanding performers. The IHSSA is proud of your achievement and excellence in the area of Speech and Drama.’ And, so is the school and communities you represented and continue to represent.”