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Telling the way to state

Yesterday, Bethany Haugan told a story. She used lots of character appeal, voices and actions.

Haugan was competing at state in speech. Accompanying her were Jamie Blackburn, Lindsey Boller and Whitney Westley as alternates.

All four Detroit Lakes High School seniors compete in a different category, and Haugan's is storytelling. At competitions, she must draw three folk stories from a pool of 15 and then decide which she is going to tell. Her favorite is "Talk."

"You can interpret it any way you want, it just has to be the same plot," Boller explained of Haugan's storytelling category.

Blackburn, creative expression, Boller, pros, and Westley, humorous, all use their same speeches throughout the year, perfecting them each time.

Blackburn chose to compete in creative expression because, she said, she likes to write her own material. And satire is her choice.

"You can write on any topic that's appropriate. You have free range," she said. She likes to make fun of politics mostly, or how "TV is destroying the youth of America."

"Jamie is a really good writer she just wouldn't admit it," Westley said.

Westley and Boller have to memorize their speeches from books or plays.

The students are then judged on creativity, style, vocal, presence, adaptation and the creativity of characters.

They all say they like to attend competitions to listen to everyone else's speeches.

"I get to enjoy myself listening to other kids make me laugh so why not join them," Westley said of why she chose humorous for her competition.

Getting away from the comedy though is Boller.

"I've never thought of myself as a funny person," she said, so she picks darker subjects like death.

"She's good at it," commented Westley.

The four say they plan to continue in speech if the opportunity presents itself in college of the future. They've has a great season though and will miss the group and practices.

"I practiced to myself in my car. People think you're weird," Boller said of driving by seeing her talk and laugh to herself.

Haugan said this season of speech has been the best because all the students have connected and had fun.

"I am finally at the place I wanted to be as an underclassman," Westley agrees. "It feels good. Finally."