H-D speech team soars to new heights

Sara Buseman sits on Angela Koath during a one act play at Hampton-Dumont’s large group speech preview night at the Windsor Theatre last Monday. GREG FORBES/HAMPTON CHRONICLE

Over the weekend, 60 students from the Hampton-Dumont Large Group Speech team competed at the district Large Group Speech competition, hosted by H-D for the first time.

Speech coach Wendy Buseman said the achievements of this year's team are remarkable. But just four years ago, that level of success and participation was almost unfathomable.

With just one student participating in speech at H-D four years ago, three new coaches stepped in with new ideas to promote speech and generate enthusiasm for the team. In just two years, participation rose to 30 members. Last year, the team hit up to 45 members before soaring to 60 members strong this year.

Buseman and co-coach Emileigh Eilderts said the growth was simply done through showing students what speech is and how much fun it could be. Students responded with infectious enthusiasm and a drive to make speech a strong part of H-D's extracurricular offerings.

"It really makes me feel like what I do matters," Eilderts said. "The students want to be in it and it's a lot of fun."

Buseman added that the level of participation in speech at H-D this year is a source of pride not only for the coaches, but for the students and the school as well.

"To see so many kids take an interest in speech is amazing," she said. "To see them grow as public speakers and gain confidence is the most rewarding."

Read the full story in the January 24 edition.