Angela Hutchings: Finding Her Voice Through Speech

A story of immense passion and steadfast perseverance

Allison Heithoff, Editor-in-Chief of Quintessence

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Many people avoid public speaking at all costs, but senior Angela Hutchings just can’t get enough of it. “If people ever talk to me, I’m probably talking about speech, and it’s really annoying I’m sure, but that’s just because I’m always working on it. I’m always thinking about the next meet, if I need to fix a certain joke, or maybe slow down one part of my speech,” Hutchings explains.

This passion for the activity has led her through Skutt Catholic the past four years, impacting her in ways no other activity could.

Angela Hutchings
Districts last year, right after Hutchings found out she was going to State

This year, Hutchings hopes to make districts and qualify for state with her entertainment speech, which pokes fun at healthy eating.

She is also doing what is called a program oral interpretation, which is essentially a compilation of excerpts from different poems, speeches, manuscripts, books, and songs that she pieced together around the theme “dreams.”

For Hutchings, this season is the culmination of her speech career; it is the pinnacle of all the hard work and dedication that began long before she came to Skutt Catholic. It represents a journey of self-discovery, hardships, highlights, and learning what it means to invest yourself into something.

I sat down and talked with her to gain more insight into her experience with speech and how it has helped her become the person she is today:

When did you first discover your passion for speech?

“I joined speech in eighth grade. I had always really liked it and wanted to join in six or seventh grade, but I didn’t really know anyone on the team. Then in eighth grade my friend asked me to be her duet partner and that’s when it kind of started.”

Describe what it feels like to get up and perform one of your speeches.

“Speech is stressful. Before I give a speech, I’m generally nervous for no reason, but then I remember I want to do this. I love it. It’s so exhilarating performing in front of people and hearing them laugh at your jokes or smile because you said something quirky or clever or funny.”

Can you give a brief overview of the speech season so far this year?

“We have a lot of momentum right now. I feel like it started off kind of slow, but Mr. Goetzinger has done a really great job of getting people to go to meets and working on their stuff, so we’ve been able to have a good turnout at our meets. We brought 27 events to David City and 17 broke top six. With the way the season is turning out, we think we have a good shot of winning state.”

What are your thoughts on the evolution of speech the last four years?

“The turnout has been consistent, but then again we’ve also had so many new people. We’ve also had a lot of alumni come back and help coach, which is totally awesome since they’ve been through the program. It helps that we’ve gotten coaches that care about the activity, which you sort of have to since you’re spending every weekend with high schoolers. We’ve just been so blessed to have the support we have.”

It’s brought me out of my shell. It’s made me blossom. I always liked to write when I was younger, and speech is my way of getting it all out there.”

— Angela Hutchings

What has been the highlight of your speech career?

“Last year, my goal was to make districts and go to state, and I fulfilled that goal. That was probably the most satisfying, biggest breath of fresh air I’ve ever had. Being on that stage when they announced the top three going to state… I was just so excited. The past year had been absolutely crazy and I had put in so much work for it. I was working two hours after school a couple days during the week, I took speech class, and over spring break before districts I was working on my speech every day. It was just the icing on the cake.”

What is the biggest hardship you have had to overcome in speech?

“When I first started, I would take judges’ comments so personally. Now I know I can’t do that. Now I take it more with a grain of salt.”

What has speech taught you, and what have you gained from the overall experience?

“Speech has taught me that I shouldn’t let my fears keep me from what I want to do in life. It’s brought me out of my shell. It’s made me blossom. I always liked to write when I was younger, and speech is my way of getting it all out there.”

What do you hope is your legacy to the speech team?

“I want them to remember I never gave up. Some people join something but then quit so quickly because they don’t think they can do it or they doubt themselves. Speech has taught me that you join something for a reason.”

What will you miss most about speech?

“Probably the family. I’ve met some of the coolest people through speech and created so many awesome relationships with people. Yeah, we’ve had three different coaches the past three years, but the sense of family has continued to stick, and I hope that sense of family continues on.”