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H-F High speech students win state honors, move to nationals

H-F High School speech and debate students were selected for the National Speech and Debate Association’s national competition in Albuquerque. Representing H-F include, front row, Lilah Kreis, left, and Victoria Olaleye, and back row, from left, Jonathan Kriarakis, Adeera Harris, Charles Austin III, Ariel Davis and Nathaniel Jones. (Provided photo)

Seven Homewood-Flossmoor High School students have won the right to compete at the National Speech and Debate Association’s national competition this summer. Their selections capped an outstanding year in which H-F students brought home top prizes in state speech and debate competition.

Teacher and coach Janine Stroemer said overall the speech team finished the season with 18 tournament placements out of 23 contests entered. H-F won seven championships, including both the regional and sectional meets that moved students into state competition sponsored by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). State competition was February 19, 20 and 21 at Illinois State University.

H-F High School speech and debate students were selected for the National Speech and Debate Association’s national competition in Albuquerque. Representing H-F include, front row, Lilah Kreis, left, and Victoria Olaleye, and back row, from left, Jonathan Kriarakis, Adeera Harris, Charles Austin III, Ariel Davis and Nathaniel Jones. (Provided photo)

Ariel Davis took first place in the Humorous Interpretation category with her performance of “Big Momma & ‘Em,” in which she tells the story of a black girl, adopted by a white family, who comes to discover the beauty of her true self.

H-F’s speech team also won second place in the Performance-in-the-Round category. The students were limited to a 15-minute play done in the round. The group’s mini play told the story of the 1921 race riots in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in which white mobs attacked the black Greenwood business district in Tulsa. 

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Performance-in-the-Round cast members were Morgan Barber, Diamond Carrington, Natalie Elfner, Kobe Gosha’, Jade Griffin, Ben Hiligen, Starr Hollis, Langston Johnson, Octavia Knox, Leyla LaNier, Abeni Lane, Kai Offett, Matt Ryan, Darrow Richmond, Zosha Schall, Nia Smith, Carrington Valentine, Alex Wallace and Jack Wilson.

Other IHSA winners were Adeera Harris and Ava Jones, third place in Dramatic Duet Activity; Jazz Jubulani, third place, Original Comedy; Josiah Griggs, fifth place, Special Occasion Speaking and twelfth place, Prose Reading; Jonathan Kriarakis, fifth place, Dramatic Interpretation; Vicky Olaleye, fifteenth place, Informative Speaking; Haley Sawyer, fourteenth place, Extemporaneous Speaking. 

H-F will have seven students competing in the National Speech and Debate Association’s national meet in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the week of June 14. Stroemer said it is the first time in 19 years that H-F will be represented in this competition. Students qualified at a district meet.

H-F contestants will be Ariel Davis in Humorous Interpretation; Jonathan Kriarakis, Dramatic Interpretation; Lilah Kreis and Nathaniel Jones, Duo Interpretation; Adeera Harris and Charles Austin III, Duo Interpretation; and Victoria Olaleye, Informative Speaking.

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