Pierre, SD – The first State Declamation Contest was held in 1910 as part of that year’s State High School Track and Field Meet. In 1911, the first state-wide Declamation Contest was held independent of the State Track Meet. From those modest beginnings 100 years ago those early declamation contests have evolved into the modern State Oral Interpretation Festival of today. This year students from 87 South Dakota high schools will compete in the 104th Annual SDHSAA State Oral Interpretation Festival on Friday and Saturday December 6 and 7 in Watertown at the Watertown Events Center and Watertown High School.
This year’s State Interpretation Festival competitors have qualified for the Festival through a combination local school, district and regional competitions. The Festival will feature a combined total of 309 Class “AA”, Class “A” and Class “B” entries. The Class “B” State Oral Festival competitors were determined by advancing from one of the ten district contests to a Class “B” regional contests and advancing from their region contest to the State Festival. The Class “A” State Festival competitors qualified for the State Festival after advancing from one of five Class “A” regional contests. Class “AA” contestants have advanced to the State Festival as a result of intraschool competition in their own schools. The 2013 State Oral Interpretation Festival will showcase competitive performances by 98 entries from 14 Class “AA” schools, 106 entries from 28 Class “A” schools and 105 entries from 45 Class “B” schools.
The State Oral Interpretation Festival, sponsored by the South Dakota High School Activities Association, brings together South Dakota’s best high school oral interpretation speakers in a “festival” setting. During the State Festival the students will compete to achieve a “Superior” rating which is the equivalent of a state championship in their contest event. State Oral Interpretation Festival competition is divided into seven contest events: Non-Original Oratory, Interpretation of Serious Plays, Interpretation of Serious Prose, Poetry Reading, Humorous Reading, Duet Interpretation, and Readers Theatre.
The State Oral Interpretation Festival competition will begin on Friday morning, December 6th at 10:00. The Festival’s second and third sessions will be held at 2:30 Friday afternoon and at 7:00 Friday evening respectively The Festival will conclude with two sessions at 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday December 7th. The awards for each session’s competition will be announced at the conclusion of the session. “Team Excellence” awards, recognizing the high schools whose over all entries excelled during the State Festival, will be presented at the conclusion of competition on Saturday afternoon.
In the Class A Duet Interpretation, Kendra Drew and Taiven Logan of Dell Rapids will perform “Investment Dating” as the 10th performance for the category, which will start at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, December 7th. Drew will perform “And Thy Name Shall Be…Something” as the 10th performer in the Humorous Reading category, which will start at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 7th. Logan will also perform “Live to Tell” as the 11th performer in the Interpretation of Serious Plays category, which will start at 10:00 a.m on Friday, December 6th.
The public is encouraged to attend any or all of the sessions of the State Festival.