Fine Arts Student of the Week: Speech gives student opportunity to talk about topics important to her

Advisers in the fine arts programs at Brainerd High School name a Fine Arts Student of the Week every week. This week it is for Speech.

Anna Streed
Brainerd High School senior Anna Streed smiles as she was named this week's Fine Arts Student of the Week for her work in speech. Jennifer Kraus / Brainerd Dispatch

Anna Streed

Grade: Senior

Age: 17.

Art focus: Brainerd High School Speech.

Adviser nomination: Anna has been a member of the speech team for six years. During that time, her skill and dedication have grown. Anna is able to find original, thought provoking topics and develop her ideas into clear and well supported points. Her delivery is energetic and easy to listen to. Anna's skills extend past her own speeches. Anna is eager to help other team members with their pieces and is great at guiding and organizing younger teammates both at practice and competitions. The Brained Competitive Speech team is glad and proud to have her as a member.


Memorable fine arts achievement: I competed Jan. 25 in the first speech tournament of the season in Fergus Falls. I had just finished writing my speech the night before and I hadn’t performed it for anyone yet. I didn’t even have time for it to be proofread. I woke up that morning with a cold and I considered just calling in and staying home because I wasn’t at my best. However, I decided to just go and get it over with and I actually ended up getting first place in my category, which I have never done before.

Artists most admired: John Coltraine and Charlie Parker.

Other fine arts activities: I play the alto saxophone in Wind Symphony and Jazz Ensemble I.”

Why did you join speech? I started speech in seventh grade and joined when Ms. (Kathryn) Campbell, my English teacher, advertised it in class. I thought it sounded interesting and I fell in love with it. I started in a different category than I do now. I started in discussion and I am in original oratory now.

I did OK in discussion, but it wasn’t something I was passionate about. In discussion you are seated at a table with five to six people and are given a prompt and you try to solve a problem.

In discussion, you have to be assertive and I was not in seventh grade.

Original oratory or what we call “OO” is where you chose a topic that is important to you like a social problem or something like that and you write a 10 minutes speech based on that problem and you research evidence to support your claim, so basically it is persuasive writing. What I like about “OO” is I really love that I get to research a topic that is important to me and I get to speak on it for like three months.

What is your topic? This year my topic is on the positivity trend, or it is called the cult of positivity. In modern society today, there is a large promotion of positivity and it has been found to be detrimental towards us achieving our goals. So by positively thinking, it makes your brain think you have already achieved that so you don’t actually try as hard. The general format is you identify it and explain why it is a problem and then you give a solution, as to how to fix it. I found quite a bit of evidence from Gabriele Oettingen, a German psychology professor.


How did you come up with this topic? Every season I tell myself I am going to write my speech over the summer and every time it is last minute. My friend, who graduated in 2018, and is going to Harvard was in “OO” with me when she was in high school. She texted me a link to a podcast and said, “Check this out, it could be a good speech topic.” At first, I wasn’t sure, but when I really dug into it I was like this is super cool.

Strongest skills: My strongest skill is leadership. I really like to help out the younger kids and help them ease their way into speech because it can be really intimidating. I think I am really good at supporting my topic with good evidence.

How will being in this activity help you in life? It has helped me so much. When I joined in seventh grade I was terrified of speaking in front of people, but now when I have a school presentation or I have to talk to people I am not scared about it anymore. I am comfortable with the skills.

What other topics have you done? Last year, my topic was on political tribalism. In our modern, political world we are more focused on having our side win instead of finding a common solution between everyone. The year before, I did my speech on the lottery of birth. It was based on the argument that says since we are placed into this world without any choice of where we are put we should not be held accountable to that. And other topics were why schools should not switch to technology and instead of textbooks and why fine arts deserve more attention that they are getting in high school.

After school plans: I'm choosing between the College of St. Benedict and Carlson School of Management for an accounting degree. I’d like to be a public accountant or financial manager. I like working with numbers.”

Favorite movie: “The Breakfast Club.”


Favorite TV show: “Friends.”

Favorite book: “The Martian” by Andy Weir.

Favorite song: “Festive Overture,” by Dmitri Shostakovich.

Favorite band: The Count Basie Orchestra, a jazz band from the 40s.

Favorite restaurant: Olive Garden. I usually get the five cheese marinara with angel hair pasta and I love their minestrone soup.

Favorite subject: Advanced Placement calculus.

Biggest pet peeve: When people talk during movies at the movie theatre or walk slowly in the hallways.

Hobbies: Spending time with my two dogs, Jack and Bandit, and practicing my saxophone. I practice my saxophone about four to five hours at home a week.


Parents: Scott and Shelly Streed of Pillager.

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