Speech Home Show graphic

“Our Home Show is our first performance for our speech students for the season and it’s a chance for their parents or family and friends to watch their performance here in town,” said Laurel Olsen, Denison High School (DHS) language arts instructor.

The Home Show begins at 2 p.m. Sunday at the high school.

DHS will not play host for any speech contests this spring, which means the Home Show will be the best opportunity for area residents to check out student speech performances.

“Otherwise they would have to travel to districts or state, which we do encourage, but since it’s a longer drive, and that makes it a longer day, it makes it difficult for some people,” Olsen said.

“The Home Show is an opportunity for them to see it here in town and it’s also a great chance for our students to have a dress rehearsal before they go off to district contests.”

Strong membership from the freshman class has helped make for a strong speech team, she said.

“We’ve got a lot of great groups this year,” she said. “Last year we didn’t have any mimes but we have a full set of mimes this year that Mrs. (Cynthia) Koster is directing.”

Television news is the only subject in which DHS students won’t be competing.

“Otherwise we have almost a full roster of groups,” Olsen said. “We have a big variety of things to watch.”

About 80 DHS students will perform on Sunday during the Home Show, which is a dress rehearsal for the upcoming district speech contest.

Students will perform individually or in groups of up to 15 students.

“It’s a very valuable experience because it helps get some of the nerves and some of the kinks out before they do it in a performance setting,” Olsen said.

“It’s also a good chance for us to see where we’re at and get in a little bit of extra practice - or see if there are any things we want to change before we get in front of a judge.”

Olsen and Koster will work to identify areas that need improvement.

“We’ll often see things in a performance setting that we haven’t seen in practice and so that’s a great chance to get that feedback,” Olsen said.

The Home Show has helped the speech program be successful by encouraging the students to be ready sooner.

“Then that last practice that we have before districts isn’t a scramble to make sure everything is ready because we know it’s been ready since the Home Show,” she said.

The audience is a little more forgiving, which can help with jitters.

“Often you just get more laughs when people know the people who are involved, especially in categories like group improvisation or ensembles that are funny,” Olsen said. “I think we often get better feedback when it’s an audience that knows the cast members. Family and friends are usually a more encouraging audience than people you don’t know.”

The familiar environment at DHS is also helpful, she said.

Olsen, Koster and the speech team captains will run the event, so volunteers aren’t needed.

“Next year we will host district contests again so we’ll be looking for anyone interesting in helping in the future,” Olsen.

The Home Show will take place in three locations around the school.

“We’ll start in the Fine Arts Center (FAC) so we have a chance to talk to everybody all at once and explain how the process works,” she said.

After the introduction, groups will split up among the FAC, the library and rooms 123 and 124.

“Then everybody can spread out and watch the students in whichever room they want,” Olsen said.

“Come and enjoy it. It’s free and it’s a chance for people to see what our speech program is doing. I encourage anyone to check out the different categories and see all the work the kids have been doing because there are a lot of interesting things happening.”

The first formal competition for the speech team will be on January 25 at Storm Lake.

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