Annual state oral interpretation festival starts Friday in Yankton

SDHSAA photo: High school students perform in the State Oral Interpretation Festival.

YANKTON – The first State Declamation Contest was held in 1910 as part of that year’s State High School Track and Field Meet. 

In 1911, the first statewide Declamation Contest was held independent of the State Track Meet.  From those modest beginnings over 100 years ago the contest has evolved into the modern State Oral Interpretation Festival of today.  

This year students from 88 South Dakota high schools will compete in the 110th Annual SDHSAA State Oral Interpretation Festival on Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday Dec. 7, at Yankton High School in Yankton.

This year’s state interpretation festival competitors have qualified for the festival through a combination of local school, district and regional competitions. The Class “B” State Oral Interp Festival competitors were determined by advancing from one of the 10 district contests to a Class “B” regional contest and advancing from their region contest to the State Festival.  

The Class “A” State Festival competitors qualified for the state festival after advancing from one of five Class “A” regional contests. Class “AA” contestants have advanced to the State Festival as a result of intraschool competition in their own schools.  

The 2019 State Oral Interpretation Festival will showcase competitive performances by 102 entries from Class “AA” schools, 101 entries from Class “A” schools and 100 entries from Class “B” schools.

The State Oral Interpretation Festival, sponsored by the South Dakota High School Activities Association, brings together South Dakota’s best high school oral interpretation speakers in a “festival” setting. During the State Festival, the students will compete to achieve a “Superior” rating which is the equivalent of a state championship in their contest event. State Oral Interpretation Festival competition is divided into seven contest events: Non-Original Oratory, Interpretation of Serious Reading, Storytelling, Poetry Reading, Humorous Reading, Duet Interpretation, and Readers Theatre.  

The State Oral Interpretation Festival competition will begin on Friday morning, Dec. 6, at 9 a.m. The festival’s second and third sessions will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday and at 6 p.m. Friday, respectively. The festival will conclude with two sessions at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. The awards for each session’s competition will be announced at the conclusion of the session. “Team Excellence” awards, recognizing the high schools whose over-all entries excelled during the state festival, will be presented at the conclusion of the competition on Saturday afternoon.

The public is encouraged to attend any or all of the session. This event is free to the public.

Local students to speak

Class AA

Non-original oratory – 9 a.m. Friday, Room 177: Angela Lansang, Brookings – “What Adults Can Learn From Kids”

Serious reading – 1:30 p.m. Friday, mini theatre: Angela Lansang –  Brookings – “First they Killed My Father”

Reader theatre – 6 p.m. Friday, main theatre: Brookings – “Queen Bees and Wannabes:” Lily Palo, Angela Lansang, Unpo Goodwill and Olivia Foster 

Humorous – 9 a.m. Saturday in Room 209: Joseph Cassady, Brookings – “The Devil in Sherman Marsh”

Storytelling – 9 a.m. Saturday in Room 177: Unpo Goodwill, Brookings – “The Legend of the White Buffalo Calf Woman”

Duet interpretation – 1:30 p.m. Saturday: main theatre: Joseph Cassady and Olivia Foster, Brookings – “Einstein’s Brain”

Poetry reading – 1:30 p.m. Saturday: mini theatre: Lily Palo, Brookings – “Sorry, Not Sorry” 

Class A

Serious reading – 9 a.m. Friday: mini theatre:

Rylee Honomichl, Sioux Valley – “Beautifully Broken”

Grace Johanson, Flandreau – “Faceless” 

Readers Theatre – 1:30 p.m. Friday: main theatre:

Sioux Valley –  “Big Bang” – Nathan Buisker, Rylee Honomichl, Jon Kasper, Parker Rinehart and Julia Steffensen 

Flandreau – “How to Survive a Horror Movie” – Grace Johanson, James Drietz, Matthew Drietz, Liam Streitz, Austin Kulm and  Drew Bamba 

Storytelling – 6 p.m. Friday: mini theatre:

Liam Streitz, Flandreau – “Captain Awesome to the Rescue”

Duet interpretation – 9 a.m. Saturday – main theatre: 

Nathan Buisker and Parker Rinehart, Sioux Valley – “Dear Evan Hanson” 

Grace Johanson and Austin Kulm, Flandreau – “The Adventures of Superhero Girl” 

Non-original oratory – 9 a.m. Saturday – Room 175:

Nathan Buisker, Sioux Valley – “An address to Congress regarding the September 11th Victim’s Compensation Fund”

Austin Kulm, Flandreau – “Confessions of a Depressed Comic”

Humorous reading – 1:30 p.m. Saturday – Room 177

Lyla Thompson, Flandreau – “My Sister, Gothzilla”

Parker Rinehart, Sioux Valley – “Investigator Q”

Poetry reading – 1:30 p.m. Saturday – Room 175

Meaghan Steege, Sioux Valley – “The Bride” 

Class B

Readers Theatre – 9 a.m. Friday – main theatre

Colman-Egan – “Ode to Mothers” – Allison Olson, Amanda Lee and  Jordan Wittrock 

Lake Preston – “Apollo 11” – Alex Wienk, Jonathon Sievers and Alex Post 

Humorous reading – 1:30 p.m. Friday – Room 177:

Noah Greer, Elkton-Lake Benton – “Slacker”

Daniela Lee, Colman-Egan – “Jogging Can Be Murder” 

Duet interpretation – 9 a.m. Saturday – mini theatre:

Torry Harding and Jordan Wittrock, Colman-Egan – “The Evil Fluff Ball” 

Gracie Snyder and Rudy Gallegos, Deubrook Area – “That’s Not How I Remember It”

Caden Letsche and Grace Parry, Arlington – “The Welcome Mat”

Poetry reading – 9 a.m. Saturday – Room 117:

Karisma Rennich, Colman-Egan – “Until We Dance, for Joseph / What the Living Do”

Chandler Leen, Deubrook Area – “Words are Weapons & War”

Serious reading – 1:30 p.m. Saturday – Room 209:

Jordan Wittrock, Colman-Egan – “Speak”

Rudy Gallegos, Deubrook Area – “Presumed Destroyed”


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