It has been 12 years, but the best of the best in Class A speech, debate and drama competitors again will be flocking to Havre to compete in the state tournament this month.
“We’re really excited about having that back in our community …, ” Havre High School Activities Director Dennis Murphy said. “This is a great way for us to show the state what kind of community we are. ”
Head speech and debate coach Kevin Shellenberger echoed that, saying it will give the opportunity to show the other teams in the state the quality of judging at the Havre tournament, and showing local residents the abilities of the students
“We’re looking forward to showing people how well the kids from around the state do in their events, ” Shellenberger said.
The tournament brings hundreds of students — as well as their coaches, bus drivers and friends and family members who come to watch the competition — to the hosting town each year. Havre High School is hosting the Class A tournament Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25-26.
Murphy said the tournament will highlight both the qualities of Havre High School and Havre itself.
“A speech meet is a community event, ” he said, adding, “In order for us to host something like this it takes a lot of volunteers, for the judging and other responsibilities. … We look forward to hosting it again. It’s a way to show what kind of community we have. ”
The Havre coaches are in the process of finding volunteer judges to rate the students in the rounds.
While the exact number of judges needed is yet to be determined, based on how many students compete and qualify at the divisional tournaments to advance to state, it could be as many as 63 judges per round.
Each event — six drama categories, seven speech and two debate — will have five preliminary rounds, three the afternoon of Jan. 25, at 1:30, 3:30 and 5:30, and two more preliminary rounds Saturday morning before qualifying competitors will advance to single-elimination outrounds Saturday afternoon.
The preliminary rounds will have multiple sections for each event, with each having its own judge. The outrounds will have a panel of three judges for each round for each event.
The Havre coaches are working to find the judges for the rounds, and to update and computerize their judging list.
People who are interested in judging at this year’s state tournament, or wish to be added to the list for future tournaments, are invited to send an email to email@example.com.
A judging clinic to prepare people to judge at the tournament will be held Tuesday, Jan. 22. A judge’s handbook also will be provided.
Havre last hosted the state speech tournament in January 2002, when the tournament included schools in classes A, B and C.
The classes were split later last decade in an effort to allow more towns to host the tournaments. Now Class A competes in its own tournament, and the Class B and C schools compete in a separate state tournament.
The Class AA and ABC tournaments were split in the 1970s.
Students must qualify to compete at the state tournament. The Class A schools are split into four divisions, with Havre competing in the central division against Belgrade High School, Browning High School, Fergus County High School in Lewistown and Park County High School in Livingston.
The top six competitors in each event at the divisional tournaments qualify to compete at the state tournament.
After the preliminary rounds at state, the top 16 in each speech and drama event advance to semifinals rounds, with the top eight after those rounds then advancing to finals.
In the debate events, the top eight competitors advance to quarterfinals rounds, with the top four in each event then advancing to semifinals and a finals round then deciding the first- and second-place winners.
Events at the state speech, debate and drama tournament:
Montana Class A high school students compete in 15 different events in speech debate and drama each year. The events in which they will compete at the state Class A tournament in Havre Jan. 25-26 are:
• Humorous duo acting
• Humorous solo acting
• Serious duo acting
• Serious solo acting
• Classical duo acting
• Expository speaking
• Memorized public address
• Original oratory
• Humorous oral interpretation of literature
• Serious oral interpretation of literature
• Impromptu speaking
• Extemporaneous speaking
• Team policy debate
• Lincoln-Douglas (one-on-one) debate