Mankato East student qualifies for national speech competition

Mankato East student qualifies for national speech competition

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Gavin Davis, a junior at Mankato East High School, has participated in speech since seventh grade. Now in his fifth season, Gavin is celebrating an incredible achievement.

Each year, the National Speech & Debate Association hosts a tournament for students who qualify to compete at the national level. Gavin double entered, finished in second place in the qualifier and made it to nationals for both of his entries.

In speech, students compete against each other in various categories such as poetry, creative expression or duo interpretation. Gavin has chosen extemporaneous speaking. He said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about before the round. Before the round, you draw three questions about modern politics, right. International or domestic stuff like will the UK be able to have a strong economy after Brexit, right. You draw one of those questions out of a box before the round, and then you have half an hour to research it, and then you give a seven-minute speech about it.”

While for most folks, the thought of coming up with a seven-minute speech on the fly is frightening, Gavin says he always comes prepared. “Every week, I’ll try to be spending one to two hours a day just reading and downloading articles about what’s going on. I’ll probably try to compare that with one to two practice speeches so that 30-minute prep, seven-minute giving every other day or two,” Gavin added.

Jennelle Zarn, an English and communications teacher at Mankato East High School serves as one of Gavin’s coaches. She stated, “When he decided that he was going to go to the national qualifiers, he decided that he was going to double enter because, in extemporaneous speaking, you can be an extemporaneous speaker on topics of foreign affairs or an extemporaneous speaker on topics of domestic affairs.”

With his quick-thinking and public speaking abilities, Gavin plans to have a career in politics and government. “Helping to make the world better with the knowledge that I’ve worked on the last five years and hopefully the rest of my life,” Gavin remarked.

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