By Nancy Gonrgora, Reporter
Senior High has a pair of state champions.
During the Nebraska Schools Activities Association’s (NSAA) State Speech Championships held at Kearney High School last month, the GISH speech team qualified eight students and placed eighth overall in class A out of 33 schools.
The larger accomplishment was that in Duo (duet acting), Anne Martinez and Elaine Abrajan placed first in their interpretation of “Real Women Have Curves” by Josephina Lopez.
The play is a comedy that talks about a close-knit group of female garment workers in Los Angeles and the triumphs that they face together.
Martinez also placed fifth in her poetry interpretation that dealt with the pain and pride of the Spanish language.
She said that being a state champion is a huge accomplishment for her, especially when no one has placed for state in a couple of years.
“This school hasn’t won since 2004, literally the year I was born. Being that change makes me so happy, especially with the topic that we picked,” she said.
Martinez added that being able to win with a topic about her culture and the struggles of it is a bigger accomplishment than she could have ever have imagined.
Head Coach John Boyd, who has led the team for the last two years, said he was very proud of his team and that part of his passion comes from being a member of his high school speech team in Gering.
“I learned almost everything I use as a coach from my time in high school speech. My experiences in high school are what inspired me to coach and teach,” he said.
Boyd added that he still uses characterization, the elements of effective storytelling, and clear writing methods that he used in high school.
Boyd said that the speech program is really important for students as they can do a variety of things, from research based argumentation to competitive acting.
“Creativity, individual empowerment, and effective storytelling are all skills that are developed in competitive speech,” he said.
Boyd added that speech is really important for high school because students use these skills to grow into well-rounded adults who care about themselves and others.
The non-finalists were Abrajan who placed ninth in serious prose, Lauren Brown placed 10th in humorous prose and placed 10th with Tim Troxel, Hannah Madison, Eulisis Martin and Zoie Haar for OID and Clark Boettger placed 11th in entertainment speaking.
Boyd added that he will not be returning to Senior High, but that his assistant coach, Loria Lei Thunker, will be taking over and will lead the team next season.