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Speech Team - Forensics

Minnesota Math and Science Academy offers speech as an extracurricular activity but it has serious academic benefits - ask Coach Boston for more information about the learning objectives under each speech category.

Contact:  Head Coach Krista Boston, J.D.

Coach Boston has 8 years of competition experience in speech and debate at the highschool and collegiate level.  She competed in prose, poetry, drama, duo, humorous interpretation, storytelling and creative expression.  She is the recipient of many awards both in speech and debate.  She has an undergraduate B.S. in Communications and a Juris Doctorate (Law).

Number: 612-598-3916 (Texts are welcome and preferred)


Interested students should email Coach Boston to be added to the Google Classroom if they are interested in speech.

To participate in speech, parents must be willing to judge at least one tournament depending on need and numbers. Judges are provided training by the Coach. Also parents MUST join the following online google groups site for regular announcements. Judging requests will also go to this site.!forum/mnmsa-speech-team-parents-and-members

The National Forensics League Speech and Debate Honor Society* notes that the 21st century economy will be one that is “cognitive”.  Its more important than ever to teach our young people to think!  Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of our democratic society and our founding fathers established many of the principles of democracy through great speeches and communication.

The society notes Speech competition has many merits including:

  • Teaching critical thinking skills – a wide body of research shows that students involved in speech demonstrate high levels of critical thinking skills
  • Unique benefits for gifted and at-risk students helping them find intellectual stimulation
  • Higher performance on standardized tests
  • Improved graduation and retention rates
  • Improved access to content material (“build links between words and ideas that would otherwise be perceived as separate and having less meaning”)
Many famous people in our society were speech competitors: This youtube video from the National Speech and Debate Association highlights just a few from across many disciplines. 

All are welcome who are in 6th through 12th grade.

Regular Meetings:

Will be held on Wednesdays from after school to - 5:30 p.m. in Room 8 in Building A or by appointment (discuss with the coach).  Students must try to attend all meetings as they will use this time to practice in front of fellow students, prepare their speeches and learn the rules for successful competition!

Fees: The overall fees will be lower when a parent volunteers to judge -at the request of the Coach. Judges are not always needed. The fees must be paid before hand by check and provided to the Coach and written out to MSA. We need one volunteer for each six competitors we bring generally (depends on the tournament!). The 2017 Season fees are $100 for highschool (and middle school if eligible) and $40 for Middle school age competitors.

Tournaments 2017 Spring Season

(There MUST be one judge provided per six competitors so volunteer parents of team members WILL be tapped to judge if we have more than six competitors for each tournament):

Community Standards MUST be followed and Parents MUST agree to pieces and topics:

All speech topics and pieces must meet community standards. The standards are not too restrictive but generally speech selections and student performances in all categories chosen by or created by members of our high school team must represent our school and community standards in their use of subject matter, language, and gestures and they must be appropriate for audiences within our community and reflect our school's philosophy and mission. For MSA that is fairly broad as long as the topic doesn't encourage violation of the law or unethical behavior or other behavior that doesn't fit within the handbook or expected standards of conduct. It is the coach’s responsibility to ensure a student's piece meets that standard.

However, it is the student's responsibility as a team member and student to show his or her topic or selected piece to his or her parents to ensure that parents are comfortable with the same language, gestures or appropriateness for the topic within a student’s family values. The coach is fully aware of and supportive that a family's standard may be different and require more attention to the topical matter or may require editing of the material. Note to Parents: Generally most topics or pieces chosen are not problematic but please be aware of this and take action as needed to ensure you as a parent are aware of these requirements and have signed off on the topic or speech before practice begins.

Middle School Age ONLY – 6th - 9th grade Novice Speakers (MIDDLE SCHOOL IS OVER FOR 2017 SEASON).
The Middle School Speech Festival begins in late January - Dates and Locations for the tournaments are below. They usually run from 8:30 to 11:30.

  • Jan 13 - Falcon Ridge 12900 Johnny Cake Ridge Road, Apple Valley, MN 55124
  • Jan 20 - Dakota Hills 4183 Braddock Trail, Eagan, MN 55123
  • Jan 27 - Hastings E 1000 W 11th, Hastings, MN 55033
  • Feb 3 - Northfield 2200 S Division St, Northfield, MN 55057

Middle School and High School 8th-12th grade, Jr Varsity or Varsity (one year of speech experience required at a minimum with advanced skills). All tournaments are on Saturdays and go from 8:00 arrival time to roughly 3:30 pick up.

  • January 2018
    • No Highschool in January (Middle School Only)
    • Highschool speechies may judge middle school tournaments. See the schedule above.
  • February 2018
    • TBD
  • March 2018
    • TBD

State Tournament Info

April 20-21st, 2018
Apple Valley High School
Section A-Sat; AA-Fri  (MSA is section A)

Speech competition categories that our team may develop and perform are as follows (all are 8 minutes in length with the exception of storytelling which is 6 minutes in length with 30 seconds preparation time):

1. Creative Expression (performance of materials written by the contestant)

2. Duo Interpretation (consists of two students interpreting together one or more sections from a single publish source of prose poetry or dramatic literature, serious and or humorous with literacy merit that is appropriate to the reader)

3. Extemporaneous Reading (Introduce and read excerpts from prose or poetry for the purpose of appreciation or enjoyment)

4. Extemporaneous Speaking (an original synthesis of current fact and opinion on a topic drawn by the contestant. Speakers may choose from either U.S. or International topics - The MSHSL will publish each fall subject areas chosen from newsworthy publications)

5. Great Speeches (a single speech OR an anthology of speeches (not to exceed three) related by common author, theme, or other element analyzed by the presenter with 25% of the presentation must be the contestants own material)

6.  Humorous Interpretation (uses any published selection, either prose, poetry, or dramatic literature, with literary merit and appropriate to the reader.  Published means the source has an ISBN or verification of original print publication.  The selection shall not have been taken from record or tape. The cutting should amuse, give enjoyment, or create laughter)

7. Informative Speaking (an original informative composition of which no more than 10% shall be direct quotation)

8. Original Oratory (PERSUASIVE composition of which no more than 10% shall be direct quotation)

9. Serious Drama Interpretation (any published selection of dramatic literature (plays, radio plays, television plays, or screenplays) with literary merit and appropriate to the reader)

10. Serious Poetry Interpretation (published poetry selection, including novels in verse with literary merit and appropriate to the reader)

11. Serious Prose Interpretation (published selection of prose, fiction or non-fiction.)

12. Storytelling  (recreate a familiar story extemporaneously. A selected list of fifteen (15) stories will be announced in the fall of each year. The order of presentation shall be determined by lot before the contest begins.) 

MSA will be in Section 4A of the Minnesota State High School League. That means our state speech tournament take place at Mounds Park Academy on April.

Every school in the 4A Section will be invited to attend the Section Tournament at MPA. Once there, students will compete to try and get into a final round (usually there are three prelims and one final). The top three students in each category will advance to the MSHSL State Tournament to compete. The State Tournament also has three preliminary rounds and a final round.

The rules for Speech Competition can be found here:

Math and Science Academy’s Minnesota State High School League Speech Section for the 2015/2016 High School Years are:

Class: A
Section: 4
There are 23 teams in this section
A Map 
Administered by Region 4A

Math and Science Academy
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