Relaunched speech team places second at Red Wing

At the start of the school year, it had been more than a decade since Faribault High School fielded a speech team.

That changed in early February when FHS submitted eight entries for a speech competition at Rochester John Marshall. New English teacher Isaac Heins began the process of relaunching the program early in the school year after previously coaching speech at Marshall High School.

At its competition on Saturday, Feb. 22, in Red Wing, the speech team took home second place in the small-school division. Senior captain Madelyn Wehe placed second overall in Informative Speaking and junior Kylie Petricka placed 10th in the same category out of 54 participants.

“The students had an awesome time, and they came away from the tournament feeling good and feeling upbeat,” Heins said.

A week earlier, the team experienced some success despite sending just six students to compete at a large meet in Farmington. Wehe placed first in novice Informative Speaking and Madeline Avila placed fifth in novice Drama.

At the first meet in Rochester, Avila placed first in Dramatic Interpretation, Lucy Paschke placed third in Informative Speaking and Rachel Bauer placed fifth in Extemporaneous Reading.

“I think they’re very proud of what they’ve done. It’s no small feat to be able to claim we had two novice champions in our first two meets. I think it really shows their dedication,” Heins said. “Even the students that didn’t place used a lot of the feedback from the judges to make really big strides in their speeches. I’m really proud of what they’ve done so far.”

Heins said improving public speaking, teamwork and organizational skills are some of the many benefits of participating in speech.

“It forces you to be very good of speaking in front of strangers, in particular. That’s something we often don’t get enough practice in,” he said. “Our students spend a lot of time with the rest of the team, going over speeches and how things went, practicing and offering constructive criticism. They learn a lot about being part of a group and meeting new people every week. I can’t put enough emphasis on the benefit of that. Plus, they’re having fun and getting awards for doing what they like to do.”

Students interested in joining speech can contact coach Heins at or call 507-333-6158.

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