Panthers awarded 2nd and 3rd at the State Speech Championship


Back Row — Dinah Newman, Milena Carbajal, Xanna Smith, Katria Kindscher, Isaiah Smith Front Row — Thomas Henrickson, Malachi Wasson

The Great Bend High School virtual speech season continued Saturday, May 1, as seven students competed in the State Speech Championship.  The Panthers finished in the top half of the 5A sweepstakes competition.

Forensic students playing chess in between rounds.

Leading the Great Bend High team was Junior Isaiah Smith who placed second in Original Oratory.  Malachi Wasson, also a Junior, took home third in Humorous Interpretation.

Dinah Newman, the team’s only Senior, was in semi-finals in Original Oratory and finished 12th.  Panther head coach Kim Heath noted that Dinah’s leadership has been integral to the squad’s success this year.  “Dinah’s forensic accomplishments and work ethic have built a model for the younger students.  She is kindhearted and fun to be around.   Her contributions will be greatly missed next year.”

Sophomore, Xanna Smith, just missed breaking into semi-finals with a 13th place finish in Informative Speaking.  Others earning points for GBHS at state were Sophomore Katria Kindscher in Poetry; and Freshmen Thomas Henrickson in Informative Speaking and Milena Carbajal in Dramatic Interpretation.

Junior Isaiah Smith
Junior Malachi Wasson

“Placing in the top 2 at State is amazing,” said Smith, a junior.  “I am so excited for nationals this summer and working to finish at the top next year.”  Heath said because of the circumstances this year, the recent state competition was a bit underwhelming compared to a normal year where the participants would all travel together to compete in person.  “But the virtual nature didn’t hold the students back,” she said. “They knew that all the competitors there would be top level and that they would need to give stellar performances.  The students made the commitment to keep at it and make their messages clear.”   Wasson noted that “placing third at the state tournament made all the work worth it.”

In June, Isaiah, Xanna and Malachi will compete in the National Speech and Debate Association national tournament showcasing high school students from every corner of the United States.