Senior Georgette Voss named State Champion in Dramatic Interpretation

Georgette Voss poses with coach.

BG Speech and Debate Twitter

Georgette Voss poses with coach.

John Boles, Assistant Opinion Editor

The Buffalo Grove Speech and Debate team has seen quite a number of success stories in the past few years with the talent of senior Georgette Voss. Last weekend, Voss was named State Champion for Dramatic Interpretation for her portrayal of an Olympic boxer, as well as the fifth place finisher of Oratorical Declamation. Considering her numerous past successes, these victories shouldn’t come as a surprise. Voss has received many honors for her performances, including: being named Mid-Suburban League Champion for three years in a row; a fifth place State finish last year in Dramatic Interpretation; receiving 12th place in the National League; making the list of the top 60 speakers in the nation; and her ranking as a State qualifier as only a freshman.

Voss’ state-winning piece was about a fictional boxer trying to make the Olympic team with the help of her trainer, who is also her father. It has always been just the two of them, so when her father dies unexpectedly, she must juggle her grieving emotions, while maintaining her dedication for boxing. Voss found the piece at Bradley University’s Summer Institute, and her decision to continue with the piece through her senior year has consisted of freshening it up and reviewing the critiques. To improve her scores, Voss visits to Bradley University every weekend to see how she can improve. As a captain, Voss stays after school every Tuesday and Thursday until 8 p.m., and for the State series, she put in an extra hour, running pieces, videotaping and analyzing her work.

It is Voss’ third time going to State and her second time as a State finalist, so she was pretty familiar with the competition, which worked to her advantage. Leading up to the State series, Voss was fortunate enough to win all but two of the 11 tournaments in which she participated.

According to Voss, she had people from all over Illinois who knew her from the online records. She was fortunate to be heading to the State final with not only the best record in Illinois, but the best record in the category itself.

“It got to a point where I didn’t even care if I won State or not,” Voss said. “I got so much support from other teams that I felt completely accomplished. People would come up to me and say, ‘I have been watching you since sophomore year and I knew you would eventually take this tournament.’”

The judging process at the State competition can be quite complex, according to Voss. There are two preliminary rounds with six speakers each and a panel of three judges (and for the state final, five judges.) The judges watch the performances, write comments on their critique sheets and rank the speakers from sixth, the lowest-scoring, to first, the highest-scoring. These scores are then tabulated and averaged to determine the final placements of the speakers. Voss received straight “ones” from her six preliminary judges, and in the final received the ranks: 2,1,1,1,1 leaving her as the undisputed champion.

According to Voss, winning a Speech and Debate title is no easy feat.  Speakers have to get themselves eager and confident for every round, and they have be ready to perform, no matter how tired they are. A speaker has to psyche him or herself up to be judged by competitors. Since each judge is looking for something different, it is very stressful with high stakes.

“The amount of adrenaline I go through is extraordinary before and during my piece,” Voss said. “Afterwords, I am breathless and tired, but have to repeat the process three more times in one day.”

Like most successful and passionate athletes and competitors, Voss is extremely thankful for the amount of opportunity given to her through her participation on Speech and Debate.

“I’d like just like to thank all of my coaches for encouraging me, guiding me and helping me get through the whole process,” Voss said. “I am grateful for my four years on Speech and all that I have learned. It’s an experience that will stay with me forever.”