Local girls place on national speech stage

Isabell Gieger and Tabitha Thatcher competed in the first-ever virtual National Speech and Debate Tournament.

Local girls place on national speech stage

FAIRMONT, Minn. (KEYC) - Speech is all about using your words, body language, facial expressions, and persuasiveness.

This year, COVID-19 limited speech teams across the country from their typical style of tournaments, but a duo of Fairmont students didn’t let that get in their way.

Isabell Gieger and Tabitha Thatcher competed in the first-ever virtual National Speech and Debate Tournament. They qualified in the Duo category which includes a variety of genres, with teams of two competing against each other.

The girls say they struggled with the learning curve of transitioning from in-person presentations, to online.

“We could see each other, and normally we can’t see each other, that was really weird. Because then you will be watching each other, what are they doing, should I be doing that. You can’t focus on yourself, their watching me, and I am watching them,” Duo partners, Isabell Gieger and Tabitha Thatcher said.

The duo ended in the top 30 quarterfinals, tying for 24th place in the nation out of 200 duo teams.

In the piece, the girls portrayed women during the World War II era. Geiger and Thatcher used their chemistry and experience to take the piece to the next level.

“It helps them do better when the judges can watch them and really see that there is chemistry. Because you can tell, Coach, Kathleen Walker said.

The girls say they had an added edge, being duo partner and best friends.

“For them to work together that long and to do it so well. To still be friends at the end of it, is a testament to their character as well as their chemistry they have together as a partnership,” Coach, Erik Walker said.

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