Four students from Akron-Westfield have been selected to perform at the 35th Annual All-State Festival of Individual Events Speech on Monday, March 25 at the University of Northern Iowa.
Maggi Liebetrau, Emily Meerdink, Jaclyn Smith and Cali Westergard were selected out of nearly 9,000 students who started competition at the District Individual Events Speech level. Their performances at the state contest held at Algona High School on March 9, determined their advancement to All-State.
Jaclyn Smith, a senior at Akron-Westfield, was selected in the area of improvisation, an event which requires the performer to draw two characters and a situation and plan a story line in a three-minute preparation period. The performer then presents the story line, creating characters and working with the situation given within a five-minute time limit. Jaclyn’s witty humor, creative character voices, and ability to take the story to a strong turning point and ending, won the judge’s approval. Jaclyn is the daughter of Dennis and Diane Smith of rural Akron.
Maggi Liebetrau presented in the interpretation category with a prose reading. She is a junior at Akron-Westfield and the daughter of Steve and Laurie Liebetrau of rural Akron, S.D.
“The Fun-Filled Family Vacation” by Erma Bombeck is the humorous piece that won the judge’s favor. Her voices for the mother, authoritative father, moody teenage daughter, and annoyingly happy son add to the hilarity of the piece that describes an eventful family vacation and strikes a chord of familiarity with most audience members.
Emily Meerdink also presented in the interpretation category, sharing a literary program which consisted of poetry and prose pieces focusing on a theme. “A Grandma’s Love” was the title of the performance about the memorable times children spend with their grandmas as children and adults. Emily is a junior at Akron-Westfield and the daughter of Kim and Dee Meerdink of rural Hawarden.
Cali Westergard chose expository address to discuss the theory of birth order, using posters to help describe personality traits of each place in the birth order lineup. Her comparison to a litter of puppies helped to make the birth order theory come to life in a light-hearted manner. She is a sophomore at Akron-Westfield and the daughter of Carl and Colleen Westergard of rural Ireton.
“The philosophy of the Iowa High School Speech Association is to encourage and foster student participation in speech activities and subsequently human communications. The festival setting — a showcase of Iowa’s top talent — is viewed as a vital means of encouraging participation by students. To have been selected is a unique honor,” said Craig Ihnen, executive director of the IHSSA.
The Individual Events Speech team is led by A-W teacher Colleen Westergard.