Spartans sweep large group speech


Kinsey Paulson, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Every year, spartan thespians travel to compete in the Iowa High School Speech Association Large Group Festival district competition. Students are able to enter themselves in different categories such as improv, ensemble acting, group musical theatre, and one act play. This year, Pleasant Valley traveled to Wapello on Jan. 21, 2017, as hopeful individuals and returned as champions.

Groups performed in front of judges and were given a rating between I and IV with I being the best and IV meaning disqualification. This year, spartans wowed the judges and scored all Division one ratings. Getting these superior ratings means that all of those involved get to continue on to the state level and be considered for All-State, a very exciting accomplishment for Pleasant Valley.

William Myatt, drama department director, teaches public speaking classes and other courses at the high school when he is not working with the thespians. Every year, Myatt advertises the speech competition to his students, and this year he had some takers. Seniors Terry Saul, Cody Snyder, Daniel Bastola, and Zach Pilger decided to join the drama department in taking part in this festival competition. The team assembled a TV news broadcast and were able to walk away with a division one rating. Saul describes the experience as, “Fun and worthwhile. It made me wish that I had gotten more involved in drama before my senior year.”

Another spartan in attendance was sophomore, Jimmy Guest. Guest, like many others involved in this event, was fully committed and dedicated most of his time to preparing. “My friends and I worked for roughly a month on a group musical theatre event. We had almost daily rehearsals whenever we could.” Just like for any sporting event, a drama performance takes time, effort, and passion. What’s great about the large group events compared to individual speech festival is that the students get to perform in teams. Guest stated, “I’ve seen my friends grow over such a little period of time. We are extremely happy with the way it turned out, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without having each other’s support.”

Pleasant Valley’s showing at the IHSSA district competition is one that will be remembered in years to come. The spartan thespians showed that hard work pays off in the long run and to always have a group of friends they can count on. The teams are looking forward to the state competition on Feb. 4, 2017.