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Another good showing at state for Perham High School

The Yellowjacket Speech Team brought home two State Finalists and one State Champion from the State A Speech Tournament in South St. Paul on April 18.

Finalists included senior Kurt Weber placing 5th in Informative, junior Lucas Wuebben placing 5th in Discussion, and returning State Champion senior David Tomporowski in Great Speeches. Senior Amanda Snyder missed the final round by a tie vote and finished 9th in the State in Humor.

Twenty-seven Yellowjacket Speech members traveled to the State tournament to support the State competitors. Nine Yellowjackets competed at State. Final results are as follows:

David Tomporowski

State Champion

Great Speeches Senior

Kurt Weber 5th in State

Inform Senior

Lucas Wuebben 5th in State

Discussion Junior

Amanda Snyder 9th in State

Humor Senior

Nikki Werner 15th in State

Creative Junior

Whitney Delaney 15th in State

Duo Sophomore


Kjristen Kroenke 15th in State

Duo Sophomore

Jennifer Riestenberg 17th in State

Original Oratory Senior

Kenzie Kovar 20th in State

Storytelling Eighth

The speech season started prior to January, 2008 when competitors researched and found materials. The first meet of the season was the Schwann's Invitational in Marshal, on January 25-26.

The four-month long season included the team's public performances at the Speech Expo in March. At the Expo, competitors showcased their talents and Whitney Delaney received a scholarship to attend summer speech camp. The season ended on a successful note with State Finalists and a State Champion.

Coaches of the speech team are Dave Howey, Sue Fresonke and Sandra Wieser-Matthews, head coach.

Mounds Park Academy of St. Paul led all schools in gold medals, winning two. Of the five returning gold medalists, only two succeeded in winning an event again this year at the 2008 Minnesota State High School League Class A State Speech Tournament.

The biggest record of the tournament, however, may have been set by Kaitlyn Berry of Walker-Hackensack-Akeley. With her seventh-place showing in Serious Interpretation of Drama, she became only the second competitor in tournament history to win five medals. Ben Senger of Sacred Heart of East Grand Forks was the first to set the record. He won five medals between 1992 and 1996.

There were 92 Class A teams represented at the tournament, conducted at South St. Paul High School on Friday, April 18. There were 213 Class A teams that competed in speech statewide this year. The Class AA tournament will be conducted on Saturday, April 19, involving 56 of the 108 Class AA teams that competed in speech this year.

Walker-Hackensack-Akeley, with its one winner, now can claim 38 state champions between 1969 and 2008, which is fourth place on the list of Most State Champions-All Classes. Mounds Park Academy now has 21 state champions, good for sixth place on that list. With its 13 medals this year, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley still tops the list of top medal-winning Class A schools with 200. Mounds Park Academy, having won nine medals this year, now ranks a distant second with 102. Mankato Loyola had two medalists this year and the school now ranks third with 91.

Tomporowski caps off speech career with second state championship

Perham High School senior David Tomporowski recently culminated his six-year competitive speech career with a state championship gold medal in the Great Speeches category at the Minnesota State High School League's recent Class A State Tournament held on April 18.

The 2008 state championship is Tomporowski's second gold medal and third overall medal, as he also won gold as a 2006 sophomore in the Informative category. In 2007, as a junior, David won the silver medal, placing second at the state tourney in Great Speeches.

A medal in state tournament is earned by advancing to the final round of state competition and placing in the top eight.

Along with David, the only other Yellowjacket speech competitor to have won three medals in state competition was Christina Ulrich from 1999-2001. Previous to Tomporowski, the only other Perham competitor to have won a first place gold medal was Angela Refsland, who claimed the state championship in 2001 in the Creative Expression category. David is the first Perham student to have won two gold medals, placing him in a group of 44 other Minnesota Class A speech competitors to have accomplished that feat since records were kept beginning in 1969.

Tomporowski began his speech career in seventh grade, and, beginning as an eighth grader, advanced to state competition for five straight years. In his first four years he spoke in the Informative category and dealt with topics such as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), the history of applause, the semantic web, and cultural perspectives of "time," the topic which garnered him his first state championship.

As a junior, David switched to the Great Speeches category and discussed a speech given by South American revolutionary Che Guevara. In his senior year, David's final topic was a speech by Congressman Robert Matsui who sought and secured redress for Americans of Japanese descent that were forced into internment camps in WWII.

Under the head coaching guidance of Sandra Wieser-Matthews, who has been involved with the speech program for 23 years, and the excellent work of current assistant coaches Sue Fresonke and David Howey, Perham High School speech competitors have achieved much success over the years, including not only individual awards, but many team awards and trophies as well.

Speech is a lifelong skill, a skill integral to the success of students and adults wherever verbal communication is important. And that is just about everywhere.