Kelsey Ichikawa Contends at State Speech Tournament

Irvington Sophomore excels at Oratorical Interpretation

By Karthik Mayilvahanan

On April 19th and 20th, Sophomore Kelsey Ichikawa competed at the California High School Speech Association State Tournament at West Ranch High School in Santa Clarita, CA, presenting her interpretation of the speech “What Do Novelists Know?” by Wally Lamb. Ichikawa placed 26th out of 54 competitors.

After coming in 6th out of 43 competitors at the CHSSA State Qualifier tournament, Ichikawa earned a spot in the state tournament. “States was a huge learning experience for me, as I got to see many different kinds of interpretations of a wide range of speeches,” said Ichikawa.

Ichikawa, who began participating at tournaments for Irvington Speech last year, has dabbled in impromptu speaking and duo speeches, but has competed at the higher level competitions such as CHSSA in the Oratorical Interpretation event. “What’s great about OI is the huge variety of choices you have,” said Ichikawa. “I get to become someone else while I’m speaking, but at the same time, I’m still saying the words like I would say them, so it’s this exhilarating blend of being you yet not quite you.”

Kelsey attributes much of her success to Irvington’s two speech captains, Junior Emon Datta and Senior Aditya Kumar. “ I can always count on [Aditya and Emon] for constructive criticism . . .  plus they know about judge protocol and tons of techniques that I wouldn’t have been aware of,” said Ichikawa. “They’re the main way I find out how the audience is receiving my speech. Their outside perspective is so valuable when I’m tweaking my OI.”

Datta expressed her pride in both Kelsey’s accomplishments and Irvington Speech’s at speech tournaments this year, as Irvington won 2nd place in the Golden Gate Speech Association for small schools. Datta added that Kelsey was one amongst the many successful underclassmen speakers this year. “I’m very excited for Irvington Speech in the next few years,” said Datta. “It’s really rare for us to have such a dedicated and passionate team as we do with this year’s underclassmen. They still have 2-3 years left on the team to improve on their already impressive success.”