Creating a community

Madelynn Dake

Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

The 2020-2021 Xavier High School Speech team is bringing together 44 students and their division I rating performances. The team competed at the Regional level on Tuesday, January 26, where all of the groups were rewarded with Division I ratings and advancements to the State Speech competition. These groups included Musical Theater, Ensemble Acting, Group Improvisation and more. For the team, it is not just about their own individual performances or ratings during competition, it is about building a community.

“One big thing Speech has done for me is that our coaches make sure to place us in groups that have kids of all ages. I was with some very talented upperclassmen my freshman and sophomore years, who taught me a lot of great skills and spent a lot of time one on one with me during practices,” junior speech student Kealey Oldham said. “I want to spread that feeling of guidance and family to the current freshmen and sophomores!”

Coaches Scott Davidson, Laura Travagiakis, Jacob Hansen and Zach Gignac are looking to not just help students advance to the next level, but also support

them on their creative journeys. “This is my 13th season as a coach and my favorite part has always been sharing my passion for speech and drama,” Travagiakis said. “It is really special to be able to watch them have what I call the ‘lightbulb moment’, that moment when it all finally clicks and they finally achieve whatever goal they have made for their character or just for themselves.” The most recent stop for the Saints was the State Speech Festival that took place on Monday, February 8. “State speech this year is definitely different than years past but we’ve taken this change and used it as an opportunity to get better,” senior Briona Charipar said. “We also got to perform in a place we are comfortable with, which is like having a home field advantage.” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the All-State festival has been canceled, but groups can still receive All-State nominations and awards. The Xavier groups that received All-State nominations are Next to Normal, The Philadelphia, Radio News, Action News: Now with 10% More Action, One Act, Improv- 31st Table and Disney Princesses.