Bardstown High School Speech Team finished up their state tournament by sending four students to the nationals in the summer. The BHS team broke records this season, with coach Cathy Spalding elated with the students’ results.
Kaden Stone, Kennedy Faulconer and Chloe Roggentine will represent BHS in Team Kentucky at the National Speech and Debate Association National Tournament (NSDA) in Phoenix, Ariz., in June. However, in May, Stone, Faulconer and Roggentine will join Juno Wani at the National Catholic Forensics League Grand National Tournament (CFL).
“I’m not used to doing a category like this before,” Stone said when asked how felt about speaking at national. “I just want to see like where they get ideas from, how can I incorporate some stuff in me and make my stuff my own and just get ideas for stuff and basically just keep it more towards me and who I am as a performer and what I like to do in speech. So basically, that’s all I’ve been doing lately, but I just know like it’s going to be probably a tough thing because I like a lot of competition for like, the more and more I look up and research it seems like that’s a whole different level that we’re not used to. I’m sort of excited just to feel the atmosphere of it all.”
Spalding said she is very pleased with her team this year, not just the students who made it to nationals, but every member of the group. She also said she was very giddy to learn they are breaking records by not only getting into one, but two national tournaments.
“I was definitely exhausted by the end of the last one, but this is great,” she said. “I’ve been really pleased with the team as a whole, with these four (Stone, Faulconer, Roggentine and Wani) and the other ones who are not going to Nationals. They’ve just got a really good positive attitudes with each other and I feel like they’ve built up good relationships.”
Across the four state tournaments several BHS students were semifinalists and quarterfinalists in their categories and the team also won two overall awards. BHS was awarded the Sweepstakes trophy at the Kentucky High School Speech League (KHSSL) tournament and the Greynolds Sweepstakes and fourth overall in the Kentucky Educational Speech and Drama Association (KESDA).
Stone took home second place in Program Oral Interpretation, while Faulconer took fifth in Dramatic Interpretation at NSDA Kentucky District Tournament. The team had several qualifiers and semifinalists at KHSSL with Stone taking the top prize in Poetry and Faulconer taking third. KESDA kicked the state tournament tour off with bang with four students placing and Stone named champion in Poetry and Declamation.
Faulconer said looking ahead they know what they need to work on and emphasized that preparing is more work than people think. She said at this point in the season it is all about perfecting the pieces and learning how to continue to improve time after time.
“There’s just certain things that you have to do to polish it up and you just have to keep running over it because every single time you run over it, there’s something new you can throw in there,” she said.
Wani said she is simultaneously the most nervous and the least worried about going into nationals in May. She was enthusiastic about competing in the Declamation category, saying she was trying to polish off her performance and was pulling together all the confidence she can in just a month and a half.
“I didn’t final in any of the other state tournaments and I don’t really final that much,” Wani said laughing. “It was a very important thing. I don’t think it still has fully registered to me at all. … I feel like I’m glad I want to go to Nationals … and I want to destroy the competition.”
Roggentine is entering in the last-chance qualifier for NSDA in Dramatic Interpretation and continues to work toward correcting the tiny detail for the CFL nationals. Spalding said even if she doesn’t qualify, she can compete in the NSDA supplementals and gain more confidence.
“I was very shocked to make it in DI (Dramatic Interpretation) because there were some really good people and it was just a like a big shocker for me,” Roggentine said. “It felt really good because I felt like that was some of my best performances.”
Spalding said the hardest part of getting to their national tournament has just begun. She said they are starting to raise funds in the hopes they can pay for the expenses for the two tournaments, particularly NSDA’s. Spalding said donations are welcome for their trips to nationals and encourages community members to donate either through their calendar fundraiser or buy mailing/dropping off donations for the BHS Speech Team.
“The goal is to get the airline tickets and the hotels fully covered for both tournaments,” Spalding said. “That way all they have to worry about is eating and that would be perfect. And if we go over it then I can get some cash advance and I buy them some meals here and there. The goal is so that finances are not a concern as far as whether people can get to these tournaments or not.”