Submitted by Kevin Hosbond
Grinnell High School registered 59 students across 18 entries for its first District Large Group Speech Contest held at Pella High School on Saturday, Jan. 22. This was the first level of competition as part of the Iowa High School Speech Association’s collection of contests held across the state. Of the 18 entries, four received a Division II rating, and 14 were awarded Division I ratings which advances those groups to perform at the State Large Group Contest on Saturday, Feb. 5 at Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
Assisting head coach Kevin Hosbond is fellow English teacher Jennie Flinspach. Also assisting is volunteer coach Michael Gookin who helps with music direction. This year’s student assistant director is ValiJo Hauersperger (ninth ensemble acting).
Based on the varied talents this year and lack of contest experience last year, Flinspach and Hosbond decided to combine the ninth and varsity teams into one group. This allowed them to better fill certain events, such as musical theatre and readers theatre, and allowed it to serve as a sort of training ground for the ninth graders by casting them beside their upper level peers.
The team entered three Radio Broadcasts this year. These radio shows are developed as part of the curriculum in the GHS speech class taught by Hosbond. “The Walk of Life” featuring Tiernan Boggs, Kaia Chang Roper, and Ellie Mintle earned a Division II rating. “Triple S Radio” featuring Nicolle Donnelly, Avery Otto, Della Pease, and Nolan West, and “BDC Podcast” featuring Beaux Blanchard, Billy Lopatto, and Owen Shepardson, both earned a Division I rating.
Continuing in the digital categories, GHS entered two Short Films. “Higher Stakes” by Emory Clements, Max Deitrich, RJ Raney, and Isaac Zaret earned a Division II rating. The film “Together” based on a poem by Claire Baechtel, and featuring Baechtel, Kaia Chang Roper, Kailyn Corey, Mia Greenwell-Sherman, and Ellie Mintle earned a Division I rating. Flinspach assisted both groups.
Three Group Improvisation teams directed by Flinspach were entered this year. The team “Hex Girls” with Maddie Davis, Emma Lewis, and Owen Shepardson earned a Division II rating. “Holy Trinity” with Jack Dahlby Albright, Roman Mackenzie, and Reece Madren, and “Angelic Wind” with Will Dahlby Albright, Justine Raney, and Nathan VanderLeest, both earned Division I ratings.
Three varsity Ensemble Acting scenes were also entered this season. “Whatever / Two Hanged Women,” directed by Hosbond, featuring Iris Mackenzie and Olivia Mick, and “The Crucible,” directed by Flinspach, featuring Roman Mackenzie and Jeslyn Voogd, both earned Division I ratings. The scene “Valley Forgery,” directed by ValiJo Hauersperger, and featuring Claire Behrens, Maggie Kaup, and Ketsia Kiphanzu, earned a Division II rating.
GHS entered a Readers Theatre written and directed by Flinspach titled “A Little Scare.” It features Mia Greenwell-Sherman, ValiJo Hauersperger, Ketsia Kiphanzu, Natalie Nieuwsma, Amelia Skouson, Ella Stephens, Rhianna Raney, Nathan Vander Leese, and Jeslyn Voogd and earned a Division I rating.
GHS also entered a Choral Reading written and directed by Hosbond titled “Them.” It features Chloe Alger, Sarah Ashing, Emily Cooper, Kailyn Corey, Maddie Davis, Joel Dressler, Kiran Elfenbein, Mary Jacobson, Kiran Jones, Brittany Kifer, Thea Larsson, Judith Perez-Valentin, Kayla Sieck, and Peter Simpson and also received a Division I rating.
Two Musical Theatre groups were entered this season. Both received Division I ratings. The team of “Once,” features Bridget Blanchard and Kaeden Peterson, and “How to Succeed…”, features Joel Dressler, Maggie Kaup, Olivia Mick, Natalie Nieuwsma, Brody Petig, Catherine Schubert, Peter Simpson, and Isaac Zaret. Both teams were directed by Hosbond with musical direction by GHS Choir teacher Michael Gookin.
GHS also entered a One-Act Play this season, presenting “Emotional Baggage,” which was directed by Flinspach. The cast includes Tiernan Boggs, Justin Durr, ValiJo Hauersperger, Iris Mackenzie, Reece Madren, Erin Nicklas, and Ella Stephens. The tech crew includes Claire Behrens, Beaux Blanchard, Damien Jones Ramirez, Liz Sieck, Molly Turley. The performance earned an overall Division I rating.
And finally, in the area of mime, the team entered one Group Mime performance and one Solo Mime; both received Division I ratings. “The Leviathan” features Bridget Blanchard, Kiran Elfenbein, Kalli Hart, Thea Larsson, Cora Miller, and Kaeden Peterson. Cora Miller presented “The Mousetrap” as the solo entry. All pieces were written and directed by Hosbond with the ensemble.