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Fine Arts Student of the Week: Sophomore 'a force to be reckoned with' in speech

Adviser nomination: "In her second year in speech, Meryl has proven herself a force to be reckoned with in International Extemporaneous Speaking. This is easily seen by the fact she has made it into the finals in every tournament this year and ha...

Brainerd High School sophomore Meryl Tigenoah smiles as she was named this week's Fine Arts Student of the Week for her work in speech. Tigenoah competes in International Extemporaneous Speaking. Jennifer Kraus / Brainerd Dispatch
Brainerd High School sophomore Meryl Tigenoah smiles as she was named this week's Fine Arts Student of the Week for her work in speech. Tigenoah competes in International Extemporaneous Speaking. Jennifer Kraus / Brainerd Dispatch

 

Adviser nomination: "In her second year in speech, Meryl has proven herself a force to be reckoned with in International Extemporaneous Speaking. This is easily seen by the fact she has made it into the finals in every tournament this year and has won several of them. While hard work, coachability and dedication are among her attributes, it is her willingness to work with and help other students whether they are in her category or not. Meryl is a natural leader and a pillar of the brainerd Competitive Speech team. Good luck at sections."

Memorable fine arts achievement: "A tournament I competed in (March 19) in Willmar. I was sick, my computer was not working and as I was leaving the school I knew I was a mess and was feeling awful. But I competed anyway and went through the whole tournament and I ended up winning that speech. That was a highlight for me as I was able to keep myself together."

Other fine arts activities: Symphonic band, debate and knowledge bowl.

Why did you join speech? "I started off with debate earlier than I did with speech. The two extracurriculars go hand in hand because Mr. (Dave) Pritcshet coaches both and on top of that they are super correlated.

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Meryl Tigenoah

  • Grade: Sophomore.
  • Age: 15.
  • Art focus: Brainerd High School speech.

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"I joined speech because so many people told me to. I felt like the only reason why I was staying out of it was because I told them, 'I am not going to join your cult, I'm not going to be a speech person.' I mean I thought speech people were kind of crazy. ... In speech, you include things like poetry, dramatic readings and creative expression and I told myself I am not creative, I couldn't speak like that. You could ask me to talk about something weird and random like the pharmaceuticals industry within the United States and I would be like OK. Then ask me to be creative with an introduction to a speech and that is something I struggled with a little more with but I I ended up joining. It was way different than debate, but I ended up liking how different it was. It was more relaxing. ... I liked the atmosphere and the different ways speech operates was interesting."

What do you enjoy about it? "Speech by itself, it is a way more friendly activity to do. You have a team. ... You can have people in your category and it is way more supportive. I also enjoy speech because you go into a round, you leave and then you can talk to your friends about it.

"Speech also really correlates to what we do in high school. Everything I talk about in my speech always finds a way to pop up with a subject I take, especially in my history class. I see a lot of things I spoke about in speech that correlates with my class."

Skills you've learned: "I've learned to improvise and I'm able to give a speech comfortably without practicing it. Another thing I learned is to get things done quickly. Like if it is a big homework project, or small assignment I can look at it and just get it done.

"The whole mentality in speech is helping me with my homework load. Another skill is just being a team player and having a good attitude with people I work with. Helping someone in a category that may not be my favorite may not be fun, but I always have an interest and I enjoy helping people."

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How does your speech category work? "I'm in International Extemporaneous Speaking and you draw three questions from a hat or envelope and choose one to compete in. My questions always are on international events, such as what is going on in this country, etc. and we have 30 minutes to prepare a speech on that. We can't use the internet and discourage you to talk to other people. You need to have knowledge and background on current events, so I keep up on international events. You prepare your speech and then give it to a judge. You have seven minutes in this category. ... You are put in a section of five to seven people and you are given a rank."

Biggest challenge: "Trying to always work on improving my skills. I have the mentality that I'm OK, this category is not too hard for you so I don't have to do anything better. I tell myself no, you can always improve. I tell myself no matter what, to look for something you can change to make the speech better.

"One thing I have worked on improving since the beginning of speech was with my hand gestures and trying to act natural during the speech. I had this whole robot thing and didn't have much of a facial expression or any expression in my voice. You have to make it interesting and being more natural ... I am still working on that."

Dream job: "I do not have a dream job, but two fields I am considering are the engineering or medical fields."

Favorite subject: Math.

Worst movie: "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice."

TV shows you could watch all day: "Nature shows."

Favorite book: "I love all books, but recently been reading a lot of the older stuff and books on European literature."

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Last song you heard: "Orange Trees" by Marina.

Favorite band: "Changes all the time."

Favorite restaurant: Red Lobster.

Food you are obsessed with: Mangos.

Hobbies: "Bullet journaling and photography. I usually take photos during the summertime. I take pictures of things I do not want to forget. I have a Polaroid, so use that a lot but not in the winter because Polaroids are not good in the cold. In winter, I use my phone a lot.

"I call my journal 'bullet journaling' as it is my ultimate, daily agenda. I started in 2017 and have all the items I write down in bullets. I like getting things down on paper, whether it's words spoken or words written, I write down everything and I love drawing in my journal."

Biggest pet peeve: "When you are in a quiet environment and then people go out of their way to tell others to be quiet and are being quite loud themselves. This is happening a lot now, even at home. I have three younger brothers and they'll yell, 'Be quiet, Meryl is doing her homework.'"

Parents: Roland and Linda Tigenoah of Baxter.

Related Topics: BRAINERD HIGH SCHOOL
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