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IHSSA cancels state speech contests due to COVID-19 virus

IHSSA cancels state speech contests due to COVID-19 virus
Students who competed at IHSSA District competition at Charles City in individual speech include Lily Woodard in Improvisation and Acting, Emily Woodard in Acting and Poetry, Anders Haglund in Solo Musical Theatre and Literary Program, Sincere Collins in both Acting and Literary Program Rosie Baldus in Improvisation and Acting, Christian Howe in Prose, Eboni Patterson in After Dinner Speaking, Teagan Prigge in Solo Musical Teatre, Cloey Usher in Storytelling, Sydney Otto in After Dinner Speaking, Makenna Jensen in Prose, Sophia Jensen in Prose and Emily Usher in Storytelling. (Press photo James Grob.)
By James Grob, jgrob@charlescitypress.com

Thirteen Charles City High School speech students — along with hundreds of students around the state of Iowa — got some sad news on Thursday.

The Iowa High School Speech Association executive committee voted Thursday morning to cancel all state speech contests set for Saturday, March 14, due to the COVID-19 virus. The All-State Festival on March 30 at UNI is also being cancelled.

“Yes, we are disappointed, especially for our seniors,” said Charles City speech coach Brenda Bailey.

The Charles City High School individual speech team was planning on sending 13 students to IHSSA State competition at Starmont High School on Saturday. Charles City students were entered in 18 events at district competition, which was hosted by the Comets, and a remarkable 16 of those 18 earned division I ratings to qualify for state.

“These changes were made for the health and safety of our students, coaches, judges and the host schools,” the IHSSA said in a release. “The IHSSA agrees that safety is the number one priority.”

The IHSSA said that it believed that the dramatic changes over the last 24 hours, and the ever-changing landscape surrounding the COVID-19 virus, warranted cancellation of the state contests. The executive committee said it discussed and reviewed comments and concerns that were sent in by member schools over the past few days.

Although there will be no trip to Starmont or Northern Iowa, there is still an opportunity for the students to perform and earn some recognition. The IHSSA said that it was encouraging local schools to hire judges to review and rate the students, and any student who is selected as an All-State speaker will receive a medal and recognition.

The IHSSA requested that local contests be completed before the end of the school year. Bailey said that Charles City was considering that opportunity.

“We are evaluating our options and will likely make a decision once spring break is over,” Bailey said. “Hiring a judge for our performers is definitely something we are investigating.”

Five Comet competitors competed at districts in two categories, as Lily Woodard made the cut in both Improvisation and Acting, Emily Woodard in Acting and Poetry, Anders Haglund in Solo Musical Theatre and Literary Program, Sincere Collins in both Acting and Literary Program and Rosie Baldus in Improvisation and Acting.

Others who competed at districts included Christian Howe in Prose, Eboni Patterson in After Dinner Speaking, Teagan Prigge in Solo Musical Theatre, Cloey Usher in Storytelling, Sydney Otto in After Dinner Speaking, Makenna Jensen in Prose, Sophia Jensen in Prose and Emily Usher in Storytelling.

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