Grinnell High School’s Olivia Mick, right, is joined by Jennie Flinspach, English Language Arts Teacher and IHSSA Speech Coach at GHS following her performance at the All-State Festival held on March 28 at the University of Northern Iowa. Mick received outstanding recognition for her solo musical performance of “No One Else” from the musical Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812.
By Kevin Hosbond
Grinnell High School brought 31 students with 49 entries to the District Individual Events Speech Contest held at Marshalltown High School on Saturday, Feb. 26. This was one of many contests held across the state as part of the Iowa High School Speech Association contest series. Of the 49 entries, 34 received Division I ratings and advanced to the State IE contest held at GHS on Saturday, March 12. That contest was nearly three years in the making as the pandemic upended the previous two that the school was intended to host. At the close of the season, GHS had 23 Division I ratings coming out of the State contest. One student was selected for All-State honors.
The freshmen team consisted of Ian Durr, Maggie Kaup, Ketsia Kiphanzu, Billy Lopatto, Catherine Schubert and Owen Shepardson. The varsity team included Kaia Chang-Roper, Kiran Elfenbein, Roman Mackenzie, Reece Madren, Brody Petig, and Jeslyn Voogd representing 10th grade. 11th grade varsity members included Emily Cooper, Maddie Davis, Brittany Kifer, Emma Lewis, Olivia Mick, Peter Simpson, and Isaac Zaret. Senior members of the varsity team included Bridget Blanchard, Aaron Campbell, Kailyn Corey, Mia Greenwell-Sherman, ValiJo Hauersperger, Thea Larsson, Iris Mackenzie, Josh Osborne, Kaeden Peterson, Noah Shepardson, Amelia Skouson, and Ella Stephens.
Ian Durr received a Division II at district for improv, and advanced to state in original oratory where he received a Division II. Maggie Kaup received a Division II at district for solo musical theatre. Ketsia Kiphanzu received a Division II at district in prose and a IV in storytelling for a rule violation. Billy Lopatto received a II for his spontaneous speaking presentation at district. Catherine Schubert advanced in solo musical theatre and later received a Division I at state. Owen Shepardson received a Division II for his reviewing presentation at district, but advanced to state in poetry where he later received a Division II.
On the tenth grade side of the team, Kaia Chang-Roper received a Division I in original oratory at district and state. Kiran Elfenbein received a II at district for her original oratory, but advanced in literary program where she later earned a Division I at state. Roman Mackenzie received a II for improv at district. Reece Madren advanced to state in after-dinner speaking and earned a Division I for their performance. Brody Petig received a Division II in radio news announcing at district. Jeslyn Voogd advanced in both after-dinner and literary program, later receiving a I and II respectively.
Junior Emily Cooper received Division II ratings on both reviewing and after-dinner at district contest. Maddie Davis advanced with storytelling and prose and received Division I ratings on both at state. Brittany Kifer advanced in original oratory and also received a Division I. Emma Lewis received a II at district in reviewing, but advanced to state in improv where they later earned a Division I. Olivia Mick advanced to state in both prose and solo musical theatre, receiving Division I ratings in both. Peter Simpson advanced to state in spontaneous speaking where he received a I rating. Isaac Zaret advanced in both improv and reviewing, and also received Division I ratings in both at the state level.
Finally, a large collection of seniors performed this IE season. Bridget Blanchard advanced to state and received Division I ratings in both acting and solo musical theatre. Newcomer Aaron Campbell received a Division I at state for radio news announcing. Kailyn Corey advanced in both poetry and storytelling and received Division II ratings for both at state. Mia Greenwell-Sherman advanced in both poetry and storytelling; she received a II for poetry and a I for storytelling at state. Thea Larsson advanced in both expository address and poetry, receiving Division I ratings in both at state. Iris Mackenzie advanced in both acting and spontaneous speaking. At state she earned a Division II in spontaneous and a Division I for acting. Josh Osborne joined the IE team this year and earned a Division I at state for his prose performance. Kaeden Peterson advanced in solo musical theatre and also earned a Division I at state. Noah Shepardson was also new to the IE team this year. He earned a Division II at state for his expository address. Amelia Skouson earned a Division II for expository address at district and advanced to state in literary program where she earned a Division II. Ella Stephens advanced to state in both public address and spontaneous speaking and earned a Division II in both entries.
Finally, to conclude the IE season, All-State honors were announced. Olivia Mick received outstanding recognition for her solo musical performance of “No One Else” from the musical Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. She was invited to perform her selection at the All-State Festival held on March 28 at the University of Northern Iowa. Critic Liz Hansen, IHSSA Hall of Fame, commented on her amazing acting skills and ability to fill the room with her voice.
“The success of this season was a remarkable accomplishment and speaks volumes about Jennie Flinspach’s role on the IE team,” said IE co-coach Kevin Hosbond. “She single-handedly coached nearly every student who competed while I spent time preparing to host the state event as the contest manager. I was lucky to get to work with the handful of students I found time for after school. It’s a treat to see so much individual talent at GHS.”
The state contest, held at GHS on March 12, welcomed thousands of people. Hosbond said more than 100 volunteers were assigned varied roles throughout the day as they hosted around 850 entries. “I’m glad we finally got to host ‘the big one,’” Hosbond said. “The third attempt really was a charm.”
Grinnell High School’s Olivia Mick, middle, is joined with her classmates and friends at the All-State Festival held on March 28 at the University of Northern Iowa. Mick received outstanding recognition for her solo musical performance of “No One Else” from the musical Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812.