The last year has been fraught with trying to find unique solutions to unprecedented circumstances. The past 12 months have been no exception for high school activities. Speech and Drama throughout Montana has seen much of this struggle. However our more creative students have proven once again, like always, the arts will survive.

Speech and Drama this winter has seen more adjustments to “normal” protocol than most extra-curricular activities, having switched to a completely virtual platform due to the current pandemic. While participation across the state has been notably lower because of this, neither the excitement to compete nor the willingness to support have diminished. This has largely been the case at Shelby High School where, even though only two competitors entered in last week’s Divisional tournament, veteran coaches Jodi Aklestad, Rikki Bleecker, and Tanner Dean are very excited for the future of the program.

This was largely evidenced this last Saturday as newcomer Harold Miller placed an impressive third place in Impromptu. A feat even more impressive considering that Miller, a junior, has managed to balance both wrestling and speech and drama outside his typical studies, sometimes managing to compete in both on the same day.

Also showcasing her talents in the Northern Divisional tournament was another junior, Jazzmyn Ewing. Ewing, a veteran performer has continued her success from last year’s second place finish in the division and an eighth place finish in 2020’s state finals. Her resume was on full display as she dominated all four rounds, being named this year’s Northern B Divisional champion in Spontaneous Oral Interpretation.

Both Ewing and Miller’s high placings were enough to bring home a 3rd place trophy in speech for the North. Both of these competitors qualified for the state tournament to be hosted online by Huntley Project.

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