Start of a new season

Abigail Todd , A&E Writer

Lines to memorize, nerves to calm and excitement to control. This is how many students are feeling right now about the Xavier speech team’s individual performance season. With a competition on its way, the team prepares to compete for State and even All State titles. Just one of those many dedicated students is sophomore Nicole Constant.

Already having experience under her belt, Constant is keeping her eyes on the prize by trying to achieve an All State title this year with her pieces in Acting and Musical Theatre.

“Last year was my first year doing individual speech and I was extremely excited when I made it to All State. My goal for this season is to make it to All State again,” Constant said.

Speech coach Lisa Streif expresses how Constant’s “flair for acting” allows her to succeed in competitions.

“Nicole has a unique insight into her characters that makes her audience want to watch. Not many high school students understand how much can be ‘said’ in an acting piece without using words, but she rocks it,” Streif said.

Although winning competitions and receiving special titles is a goal for the team, that is not all it has to offer at Xavier. The students’ determination to succeed and convey difficult emotions is something Coach Streif explains makes speech so special.

“Speech is special because it is personal. Pieces are chosen because the coach or student feels a connection to it. Each coach forms a unique bond with the students. Each performer communicates through that piece to the audience. The performances come alive because the people involved in them have invested time, energy, creativity, and emotion-they take each performance personally, and it shows,” Streif said. “Every year, I am blown away by the talent and drive I see in the students on the speech team. They always seem willing to go ‘all in’. That’s what makes speech special.”

Another reason why many students claim they love speech is the fact that they can express themselves in ways that feel freeing. Constant tells how speech has become an expression of herself throughout the years.

“I did speech in middle school because my friends were in it, but I continued to do it in high school because it became a form of self-expression for me,” Constant said.

So whether a student has a state title in his or her mind or if their piece allows them to convey personal emotions and make them feel confident, speech welcomes everyone and allows people to succeed and shine in their own way.

Constant, along with other individual performers, will be competing at the state competition at North High School in Elridge on Saturday, March 9.