Three members of Central’s speech team compete at State


Photo Courtesy of Megan Donson

Junior Athena Chen stands onstage during speech state awards on Feb. 18.

Selah Lee and Natalie Langan

Three members of Central’s speech team competed at the IHSA State Finals on Feb. 17-18, with junior Athena Chen placing 4th in Radio Speaking. 

“This year was one of our best yet in terms of how well we did,” Chen said. “Last year, only four [people] made it to sectionals, but out of those only three actually made it to state. Overall the team has gotten a lot better.” 

Senior Darby Elo competed in informative speaking and senior Owen Forbes competed in original comedy, although neither made it to the competition’s finals.

It was a lot higher stakes [at state],” Forbes said. “At regular tournaments, there’s only one judge. Except at state, there’s three judges, so it was a lot.”

Senior and speech team captain Imaan Niazi said she was very proud of the team.

It’s really cool seeing how the rest of the team put in so much work throughout the whole process, and then seeing how their pieces changed so much,” Niazi said.

Speech team head coach Jeremy Lin is in charge of preparing the competitors throughout the season, and said he was proud of the work all of the students and coaches put into preparing for State.

Everyone signed up for a whole lot more coaching for sure,” Lin said. “Beyond that, we started to try to get as many eyes on things as possible. We invited all the coaches to get together to look at pieces and performances. We invited guest coaches to come in who were also former students, former competitors, [or] former coaches.”

Many seniors will be graduating at the end of the year. Lin will also step down at the end of the season.

“We’re losing around 22 seniors, which is a good chunk of our team. I think next year, we still have a lot of people who have gotten very close to being state qualifiers, so our team’s going to have a good leadership. I think they’re also going to need to work and practice a lot in order to get to the top levels,” Lin said.

As the speech team wraps up the season, seniors lament leaving.

“People join speech for speech and then they stay for the people, because the community really makes it,” Forbes said. “I don’t know if I could get another speech community that’s this great in the future.”