What's recently happened?
This February, Crown Point High School (CPHS) held the “For The Love of Speech” event. This event hosted students all from across Northwest Indiana high schools and many of Crown Point’s own speech and debate club members competed.
“My main speech event is called discussion. It entails getting artifacts, which can be articles, pictures, song lyrics, poems, etc., and going into the round and discussing the main ideas of each," said Freshman Austin Shackleton.
Though it may not seem challenging, Shackleton described how discussion involves a lot of careful planning to fight for time to speak and get your points across. He also noted how this was the only speech event that he has done this month.
"My progress thus far has been absolutely astronomical. From the comments of my peers, teachers, and even fellow competitors, I have been able to learn and fine-tune my abilities to be able to exceed," said Shackleton. "At my first competition, I placed fourth, if I remember correctly. Since then, I've been able to break to final rounds near every time. I have learned a lot from my teachers, my coaches, and my competitors, and thank them all greatly. I'm on track to be very good in the coming years, and can't wait to see how I grow.”
This has been Shackleton's first year on Crown Point's speech and debate team, and he has already placed at five events.
Along with Shackleton, Freshman Katie Mahle also competed.
“I'm doing broadcasting, but I want to try original oratory. I'm mainly doing it for the experience. I tend to procrastinate a lot, and with broadcasting, you don't have to do much prep beforehand but you still get to compete and have fun," said Mahle.
Like most new skills, broadcasting is a skill that takes time and practice to get better at. Though Mahle has been involved in speech and debate since middle school, she shared how she was still able to improve and grow even more this season.
"I think I definitely got better from the first time I competed; I definitely became more confident knowing what was going to come up and how it was going to go," said Mahle. "I may not have placed very high, but in the competition you're really just trying to compete with yourself and do better than how you did last time."
What's coming up?
Crown Point High School’s Band has started its preparations for ISSMA. This is the concert that all of Crown Point’s bands have been preparing for since the start of 2022.
“It’s nerve-wracking being my last ISSMA as a senior, but it is bittersweet. I’m very excited to move on to my next chapter in music,” said Kylie Fajman.
Fajman is part of Crown Point’s second most advanced band: wind symphony. Her friend Mady Hall, a senior, is part of wind ensemble.
“I feel excited and optimistic because we have been waiting for two years for ISSMA in order to qualify for state. Because of COVID-19, we weren’t able to get this opportunity last year, so this year we are coming in with a new, fresh look at things and better musicianship," said Hall.
Hall has been playing clarinet since her first day of band in middle school. She feels bittersweet knowing that the end of her season is approaching.
"This is my favorite time of the band year, and although I am going to be sad that it’s my last one, I know that this year will make it worth it," said Hall.
On the topic of ISSMA, Crown Point’s Band Director, Johann Sletto, has no doubt that his kids will do well at the event.
“I think we are going to do great. I think that everyone has been working really hard, and hard work tends to pay off," said Sletto. "I think that it will be interesting because this class has not gone to the ISSMA Organizational Contest in years, so for some of them it will be their first time."
As with each ISSMA competition, there are new experiences that make it more fun and interesting than the last. But with this year being the first for many, Sletto is looking forward to it.
"We will probably encounter some things that I probably won’t expect just because some of them are not used to traveling somewhere else and being judged and what that's kind of like, whereas before the pandemic we would just do it every year like normal," said Sletto. "So in that way, I think it will be a good learning experience for us and a good opportunity to do something different, but I think we will have a lot of success."
Making things a little different than last year, Sletto plans to combine his concert and symphonic band into one. Be sure to check the school's website for the latest information on how the group performs at ISSMA.
Senior Abigail Werner is on the Crown Point Swim Team and has been competing for the entirety of her high school career. Even after a difficult surgery, she swam to success in a recent event.
“What I like most about swimming is the competitive atmosphere. I have always loved racing and competing; I love the thrill of racing the person next to you and trying to be the first to the wall,” said Werner.
This month, Werner competed in the 50-yard freestyle. Before she was able to take a dive to start her race, though, she faced some complications.
Before her competition, Werner had to receive surgery for a spinal tumor she had on her T5 vertebrae.
“I actually did not have the most faith going into the race, but my head coach sat me down and told me that me being in this position after my long recovery and surgery is already winning," said Werner. "I was just excited to see what I could do and see the possibilities."
Despite this challenge, Werner still managed to win her race. Her story shall continue to inspire Crown Point’s athletes for years to come.