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June 23, 2020 • Achievements

East High School speech team sends students to national competition

From the left, Carter Vanderloo, Whitney Lester, Claire Hendrich, and Leai Britton. Photo by Jesse Brothers, SCJ
From the left, Carter Vanderloo, Whitney Lester, Claire Hendrich, and Leai Britton. Photo by Jesse Brothers, SCJ.

Six speech and debate students from East High School in Sioux City competed in the National Speech and Debate Association National Tournament on Saturday June 19.

And there’s good news to pass along.

Two students made quarterfinals at the tournament.

The team also brought home the School of Honor title marking them top 50 in speech, in the country.

Marissa Kuiken, the team coach, says it’s a great way for student voices to be heard on topics about which they’re passionate.

“The kids at East High School are insanely talented. And I feel super blessed that I get to be their coach and see them grow. And to see them get their words, for people to listen to what they’re saying and that their words matter so much. And they get to showcase that through a huge audience I think is so important,” said Kuiken.

Kuiken says the process of the tournament this year was different because of COVID-19. The performances took place via Zoom meetings.

Carter Vanderloo made quarterfinals at the tournament. He says it was an amazing experience.

“In my head, I was definitely thinking, how did I get here? At the start of the competition I knew everyone was going to be very talented and I know everyone was going to have a lot of different skill sets. And so, as we eliminated people I definitely was shocked. I didn’t believe it. But then as the rounds went on, I became a little bit more confident and I was very happy with my performance,” said Vanderloo.

Vanderloo says he’s already starting to prepare for next year.

View the full coverage by Emily Schrad on KTIV.