The speech team started their season on Saturday, November 7 with the Bellevue West Invite. However, this season will look much different from years’ past.
The team usually spends their Saturdays competing at various high schools around the state. This year, amidst many COVID-19 protocols, students will be attending virtual competitions.
Coach Nolan DeWispelare has had to make many preparations in order for students to compete.
“I am planning on having people come into Pius and use laptops that can connect to Zoom over the school’s network,” DeWispelare said. “I plan to put each competitor in a separate classroom, that way the competitors can have their masks off while they perform.”
Senior Joey Welty has been a part of the speech team for the past four years. However, Welty has struggled with the adjustments that had to be made in order to compete.
“The most difficult part was figuring out the technology,” Welty said. “Centering my visual aids [on camera] was the most difficult part.”
DeWispelare is hopeful that by the time the Pius X Invite comes around, technological difficulties will be fixed.
“I helped to run the first tournament and it’s going to require a lot of patience and lots of flexibility,” DeWispelare said. “I’m hopeful that by the time we get to our tournament, we’ll have a pretty good understanding on what we need to do.”
Despite all of the uncertainty in the past few months, DeWispelare is glad that students will have the opportunity to compete.
“I’m glad that we finally got to start our season,” DeWispelare said. “I’m looking forward to what this group can do despite the strange environment and ever-changing restrictions.”
In the Bellevue West Invite, Welty placed 6th in Entertainment Speaking and sophomore Ava Hoffschneider placed 6th in Dramatic Interpretation. The team finished ninth.