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Battle Creek speaker ‘Best of the Best’

March 31, 2018 GMT

BATTLE CREEK — Emma Beckenhauer described it as the “best feeling ever.”

After failing to qualify for the state speech competition during her junior year of high school, the Battle Creek senior said she was ecstatic when her name appeared on list of finalists at this year’s state meet in Kearney.

“It was the best feeling,” she said. “Last year, I didn’t even make it to state with my piece, so it felt nice to redeem myself.”

But there was even better things to come.

In the finalist round, where Beckenhauer nabbed Class C1’s first-place honors in the entertainment category for her speech on “Embarrassment.” She also subsequently learned that her speech would be featured as one of NET’s “Best of the Best” in its speech showcase scheduled to air on Sunday, April 22.

“It’s an insane honor,” Beckenhauer said of being among the orators selected for the showcase.

Beckenhauer — who placed fourth in the state competition during her sophomore year — said the selection means even more when she thinks about the “amazing” level of competition she encountered at the state speech meet.

This year was Beckenhauer’s fourth as a speech competitor and third as a competitor in the entertainment category. She made the initial decision to go out for the speech team because her favorite teacher — Leanne Frauendorfer — was the coach and talked her into it.

Frauendorfer said Beckenhauer has been a pleasure to work with.

“Her willingness to take constructive criticism from peers, coaches and judges is much appreciated,” Frauendorfer said. “Plus, not many students have the natural ability to use comedic timing to emphasize her sense of humor.”

Frauendorfer said earning a bid to compete at the state level is quite difficult, and the quality of speech competition in Nebraska is incredible.

“This makes placing in the top three at districts to be worthy of praise,” she said.

In addition to her first-place finish in entertainment, Beckenhauer also placed sixth in duet acting with teammate Claire Goodwater.

Beckenhauer, who intends to obtain her general education credits at Northeast Community College after graduation, said she is undecided about which career path she will take in the future but knows her participation in competitive speaking will help her succeed in whatever she chooses.

“When you do speech, you learn how to present yourself in front of people and dress in a professional setting, and you learn how to conduct yourself in a professional manner, which will help a lot more than other sports I think,” she said.

Also scheduled to be part of the “Best of the Best” speech feature on NET, and the categories of their speech, are:

Serious — Anna Currier, Bancroft-Rosalie

Oral Interpretation of Drama — David City Aquinas

Extemporaneous — Dominic Naughtin, Sutherland.

Humorous — Rylan Hurd, Rushville-Gordon

Informative — Vaishnavi Menon, Millard North.

Duet acting — Johnson-Brock

Persuasive — Emilie Schardt, Bruning-Davenport

Poetry — Tiffany Pearson, Tri County.