If Marian is known for anything, it is the plethora of activities offered for students. From Campus Ministry to musicals, students can always look forward to upcoming events and meetings. This year, Marian activities look a little different.
For this year’s season, the Speech and Debate team will compete virtually instead of in-person. Girls on the Speech and Debate team still prepare their pieces and get dressed up, but present to their iPads rather than a panel of judges. “[Finding out the tournaments would be virtual] was disappointing, but not unexpected,” Speech coach Dr. Renee McGill said. “Since the girls didn’t get to compete at districts and state last year, this is better than nothing.”
Although it is unfortunate that the tournaments are virtual, some girls enjoy the experience even more than being in person. “It eased my mind not having to perform in front of a crowd. I could put a post-it note over [the judge’s] face and pretend like I was just practicing,” senior Emily Crowe said. “It made me think I should have done speech as a freshman!”
“I loved presenting in front of an iPad instead of a panel of judges because it gave me a chance to be more dramatic and enthusiastic,” freshman Brianna Sedlak said. “Being in front of judges in person is a little scary, so competing virtually was incredible.” Competing virtually also allows the competitors to be in a quiet space to focus and prepare before they present.
“Debate tournaments are loud, chaotic and never have enough food to serve everyone. I like being home where I am organized or at school in an empty and quiet classroom,” junior Eliza Turco said.
Like with most virtual activities, technology problems occurred at the first tournament. However, the speech girls did not let this affect their performance. “Something on the network was blocking the video and the sound of the other opponents, so we had some technology issues but we fixed those,” Debate coach Ms. Halli Tripe said. Since the debate girls competed from home, it was harder to make sure that everyone was present and on time. “I would have to Google hangouts them, and if they didn’t answer I would have to call their parents,” Tripe said.
“The worst part was probably trying to figure out which team we were on. Each round had a new judge and new people we had to compete against. Trying to figure out which link we click to get to our next round was confusing,” Tripe said.
Most clubs have decided to hold fully virtual meetings or hybrid meetings this year to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 and minimize the need for contact tracing. Young Republicans Club leader junior Sydney Schroeder has held a few meetings this year, some hybrid and some fully virtual. “We had a lot of people come because a lot of the people at home were able to log on. Even in some of our in person meetings, we still had a lot of virtual people who were at home because of quarantine,” Schroeder said.
Zoom has made some aspects of club meetings easier. “I’ve found that on Zoom it’s easier to do polls and get people’s opinions, or if people just want to say a comment to me privately, it’s easier for them,” Schroeder said. “We have found ways to adapt to Zoom, and it’s going great.”
Young Medicine club member sophomore Gozie Okafor agrees that aspects of Zoom meetings are easier than in-person meetings. “I was able to clearly see all of the information slides that the speaker had without the desk shields that are usually in the way,” Okafor said. “It was easier to focus without many distractions and went smoother than I expected.”