Speech and theater fest unites high school students

Students from Covington High School gathered together before their first round of competition. CHS placed second at the festival. Jacob Summerville/The Lion’s Roar

High school students gathered at the university to embrace theatre, dramatic speech and competition.

The “Vonnie Borden Speech and Theatre Festival” was held on March 16 from 12-8 p.m. in a couple of buildings on campus including D Vickers Hall and the Kinesiology and Health Studies Building.

Associate Professor of Communication Dr. Amber Narro explained the function and history of this event.




“This event has been going on close to 30 years for a really long time,” said Narro. “So, the students who participated in this event come back every year because ‘A,’ it’s a fun event and also because it qualifies them to go to that next level. It kind of confirms their talent and their hard work.”

There were three rounds for the competition where students could compete in categories such as poetry, extemporaneous speaking and dramatic interpretation. 

Senior from Zachary High School Aidan Hill explained how he was introduced to theatre.

“I accidentally entered a class my eighth-grade year, and that’s what got me interested,” said Hill. “I didn’t know anything about it. I was accidentally put in the class, and from there on, I loved it. But my ninth-grade year, my talent and theatre teacher recommended me to try extemporaneous speaking, and I’ve been doing it here ever since.”

Hill also said that he likes the “interpersonal” connections he makes at this event since the schools participating are near to one another compared to the state-wide competition. Attending for his fourth year, Hill talked about what he likes about the festival.

“I think a lot more than other events, the judges are really great,” said Hill. “A lot of other judges will be really stone-faced with you. And while there’s a professional atmosphere here, you also feel like you have a friend as a judge. You get to talk to them and have a good time.”

Senior from Zachary High School Maggie Terral stated that this was her third year attending, and she competed in the poetry event. She explained that fellow students at this competition drew her back year after year.

“It’s not very often that you get to be in a room with a bunch of drama kids who all relate to you,” said Terral. “So, it’s really fun, and to watch everybody from different schools and different backgrounds and different families come together and express what they love and do what they love is really awesome.”

This festival served as a district competition, and the students who qualify for the state competition will compete at a festival at Louisiana State University as described by Narro. She also shared the success of the students’ work at this festival.

Narro said, “We had superior ratings across most of the schools that came this year, and the judges will be sending a lot of kids to compete at the state level.”

Zachary High School won first place at the event with Covington High School earning the second-place prize. 

Terral shared advice for students who wish to become involved in theatre.

“Don’t knock it until you try it,” said Terral. “It’s a little scary at first and a little hard to put yourself out there, but it’s really freeing and really exciting.