West’s speech and debate team wins bobbleheads


Danial Syed

On October 19th, students from West High’s Speech & Debate team competed at Des Moines Roosevelt Roughriders Invitational; in Speech, we placed first in three events, and had a strong showing in just about everything else.  The novice debate team also won some hardware.  Interestingly enough, Des Moines Roosevelt did something unique this year, offering bobbleheads as trophies.



“Big whup,” you might think; however, after over three years of getting plaques and medals, the bobbleheads offered an incredible change of pace.

Here are the final speech results:

Dramatic Interp: Yannick Encarnaceo 1st, Rob Nelsen 3rd in honor final
Humorous Interp: Paul Curry 1st, Danial Syed 2nd, Jack Christensen 3rd, Jacob Barber 5th
Lit Program: Paul Curry 1st
Original Oratory: Danial Syed 3rd

Poetry: Jack Christensen 3rd


And here are the novice debaters!

journalism galeez



Now, I’m sure some of you might be wondering what goes on at a Speech & Debate competition.  Why, competition of course!  Aside from the obvious, I thought I’d give you a brief rundown of what went down, from the Speech side of things…


It’s 12:45.  West High’s Speech & Debate team members have been released from class, and are making their way towards the main entrance.  While we wait for the bus to arrive, I do a little work on my pieces–Storm Front, a humorous performance (about a private investigator who lives in Chicago, and is also a wizard) and “Witch Doctors,” an oratory (persuasive speech about problems with contemporary medicine).  During the bus ride to Des Moines (and even after we arrive), we practice/make last-minute changes to our pieces–for instance, Jack Christensen makes an introduction for his poetry piece, and Jacob Barber polishes his performance.


Roosevelt did an awesome job being organized; they had all of the tournament’s rounds posted by the time we arrived.  In Speech, local tournaments have three preliminary rounds, breaks (where some people are eliminated), and then finals.  (In larger tournaments, there are often semi-final rounds…or quarter finals…or octo-finals…or even double-octo-finals!)  In each round, competitors (usually four to seven of them) perform in a pre-assigned order; the judge then ranks each performance in order of awesomeness.  For instance, the best performance gets a 1, and the worst gets a 6.

Unfortunately, in my humorous event, I saw that I wouldn’t be in the same room as Paul or Jack.  I was excited to see their pieces, because they both went to the Florida Forensic Institute (one of the best Speech camps in the nation) this summer.  Ah well, I’d have to wait.

Since I (like Paul and Jack) was entered in multiple events, I had to go visit one round first, perform, and then go to the second.  All in all, the three rounds went very well for everyone!

Then came finals.  For humorous and dramatic interp, interestingly, they held honors finals; in other words, they gave people who didn’t reach finals another chance to perform.  How thoughtful!  In any case, humorous interp finals were a blast; I got to see Paul and Jack’s pieces for the very first time, and vice-versa.  Needless to say, they were incredible…which points to one of the cool things about Speech.  Your performance is yours and yours alone, (except in duo interp, where you and your partner share it).  I was able to see the unique brilliance of my fellow teammates,  and that was pretty cool.

All in all, Roosevelt was an incredible tournament.  The fact that I earned a bobblehead has given me a big head, and I think everyone was pretty content with the tournament’s results.  Stay tuned for more web content on Iowa City West’s awesome team!

Let the award ceremony pics ensue!

Jeremiah Anthony! (on the left)

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Jack Christensen! (also on the left.  It should be pretty obvious who’s who, but…)

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Rob Nelsen! (in the middle)

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And me!  (also in the middle)

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