Speech and debate to host Performance Night on April 23

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Members of the speech and debate team pose with medals after the Marshalltown tournament held in November. On April 23, several members will present their pieces to a wider audience at the annual Performance Night event at 7 p.m. in the West High auditorium. Performers include: Rachel Ruback, Eleanor Marshall, Vicky Zhu, Paul Curry and Danial Syed (pictured), as well as Luke Brooks, Katie Lew, Kai Yan, and Alex Klopp (not pictured).

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Members of the speech and debate team pose with medals after the Marshalltown tournament held in November. On April 23, several members will present their pieces to a wider audience at the annual Performance Night event at 7 p.m. in the West High auditorium. Performers include: Rachel Ruback, Eleanor Marshall, Vicky Zhu, Paul Curry and Danial Syed (pictured), as well as Luke Brooks, Katie Lew, Kai Yan, and Alex Klopp (not pictured).

Usually, the members of the West High Speech and Debate team practice their pieces to walls and perform them for a handful of competitors and judges in otherwise empty classrooms. But this Monday, April 23, they’re taking their big talent to a bigger stage.

The speech and debate team is holding its annual Performance Night event at 7 p.m. on Monday in the West High auditorium to showcase the work of many of the most successful and involved members, including several of the team’s ten National qualifiers. Admission is $5.

Performers include Vicky Zhu and Luke Brooks in dramatic interpretation, Paul Curry and Danial Syed in humorous interpretation and Eleanor Marshall in original oratory, along with a mock debate between partners Rachel Ruback and Katie Lew and their opponents Alex Klopp and Kai Yan.

“Everyone should come. It’s a chance to see what the West High speech and debate team is all about, including our best performers and debaters – those that qualified for Nationals. There is something for everyone, too – humor, drama, arguing and cupcakes at intermission! We will also recognize our graduating seniors,” said speech and debate coach Megan Johnson.

West High speech and debate has been showered with awards this season, with State champions in humorous interpretation (Curry), dramatic interpretation (Brooks), original oratory (Marshall) and policy debate (Jeffrey Ding and Liam Hancock), and many other State finalists including Zhu in dramatic interpretation and Syed in humorous interpretation. Competing across the country, the team yielded high rankings at numerous national tournaments including the Glenbrooks in Chicago and the Cal Invitational in Berkeley.

“Many people don’t know what speech is exactly. I think it’s important for people to come to [Performance Night] to find out – and to see the different kinds of talent we have at our school. Speech is unique because it’s a lot more than just public speaking. It’s a performance, and we’re telling a story. There’s a lot of depth to it and it’s important for people to know how much work we put into an activity and how much joy we get out of performing,” Zhu said.