Nick currently serves as the Director of the Lincoln East “Spartan” Speech Team in Nebraska. During his tenure, he has coached the Spartans to the state Championship and NSDA Speech School of Excellence award in 2016, and a State Runner-up title in 2017. Nick has coached students to state championships in Dramatic, Oratory, Informative, Entertainment, and Extemporaneous as well national outrounds in Duo, Duet, Dramatic, Humorous, Informative, Poetry, POI and Oratory. Specific highlights include the NIETOC Champion in Expository (2014), the AFA & NIETOC Runners-Up in Poetry (2013 & 2014), and two NSDA finalists in Expository (2014 & 2016). During his own competitive career, Nick competed in ten national final rounds at the collegiate level and was the 2011 AFA & NFA National Runner-up in Prose, Poetry, and Drama as well as 2012 AFA National Champion in Program Oral Interpretation.
Meet Coach Kasey Wacker
Kasey Wacker is a champion among coaches (and was recently named sub-section coach of the year). She knows just the right balance between pushing a competitor and encouraging a competitor. She is dynamic and ready for fun and hard work. She is one of the up-and-coming top coaches in the State of MN. The fact she has served on the Communication Theater Association of Minnesota Board, and also now serves as President-Elect for Minnesota Speech Coaches Association, shows that she is committed to competitive excellence in the State. In Kasey's years of coaching, she is most proud of coaching state champions in creative expression, duo, and great speeches. She has coached a dozen or so competitors over multiple categories into final rounds at state. She is also proud of the fact that in her first official coaching year at New York Mills High School, three of her students competed at state (one of which made finals and placed 5th), and one made it to Nationals.“What you have to say matters” is at the heart of Kasey’s coaching philosophy. From helping a student find a piece of literature he loves to reminding a student that her performance is not defined by a critique sheet, she stands by this motto in everything she does.. She recognizes that each and every student she coaches has had different struggles, has had different experiences, has a different kind of voice. Her compassion, frankness, and enthusiasm make her not only an extraordinary coach, but an inspiration.
Meet Speak2compete coach Elle Barts
Elle Barts currently serves as the Assistant Director of Speech at Lincoln East High School in Nebraska. During her tenure, she has coached Lincoln East to a State Runner-up title in 2017 and qualified 10 students, in individual events, for the 2017 NSDA tournament. Over the years Elle has coached state runners-up and champions in Poetry, Entertainment, Dramatic Interpretation, and Extemporaneous. On the national level Elle’s students have gone on to final at both NIETOC and NSDA. Specific highlights include the 2015 NSDA runner-up in Poetry. During her own competitive career, with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Elle was the 2010 state champion in Communication Analysis, an AFA-NIET quarter and semi-finalist in After Dinner Speaking (2010 & 2012), as well as the 2011 Big 10 Conference Champion in Informative.
Meet Spek2compete coach Cadi Kadlecek
Cadi Kadlecek coached speech on the collegiate level for 7 years before co-founding SPEAK2compete, and has coached high school speech for a year at Battle Ground Academy in Franklin, Tennessee. She is originally from Ceresco, NE, where she competed at Raymond Central High School and was a member of a multiple state Championship team. In addition, she was an Octa-Finalist in Humorous Interpretation at the NFL National Tournament (now NSDA) her senior year. As a college competitor, she competed in Public Address, Limited Preparation, and Interpretation winning not only the Nebraska state title in Dramatic interpretation, but also a National Championship in Prose Interpretation. As a high school coach she has coached students to state in 3 different states (Nebraska, Minnesota, and Tennessee). During the 2016-2017 season she had students accepted to prestigious round robin tournaments (Florida Blue Key, George Mason University Patriot Games, The Sunvitational and MBA) in oral interpretation and extemporaneous speaking. In addition to success in forensics, Kadlecek demonstrated success in the classroom and service to the community by receiving the AFA-NIET All-American Award and the Outstanding New Coach Award for the AFA-NIET in 2013. Most recently Kadlecek coached her team to a Tennessee NSDA Congress Qualifying Team Championship, the first for BGA since 1997. In addition, she has 15 years of camp curriculum development experience.
Meet Speak2compete coach Kris Kracht
Kristofer Kracht completed his thirteenth-year directing the Gustavus Adolphus College Forensics program and his ninth year directing the Gustavus Summer Speech Institute upon co-founding SPEAK2compete. During his tenure, Gustavus became 1 of 11 schools in the history of collegiate forensics to be ranked in the elite top 10 five consecutive years. Gustavus placed 6th at the 2014 American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament and 7th at the 2014 National Forensic Association National Championship while earning a National Championship in Presidents D-I. Kris has coached sixteen national finalists, 79 state champions, qualified twelve students for the Interstate Oratorical Association National Contest, and coached five AFA-NIET All-Americans. Additionally, he received the 2006 Bob Derryberry Award For Outstanding New Forensics Educator, the 2009 Pi Kappa Delta Brightest Star Award, and the 2010 Swenson-Bunn Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence, and the 2011 AFA District Four Larry Schnoor Distinguished Service Award. Most recently Kris has coached students from California, South Dakota, Alabama, Tennessee and Minnesota to both state and national tournaments.
Ross Eichele is an educator dedicated to helping his students grow as competitors and individuals. Many of his students have advanced to final rounds of state speech tournaments during his 16 years as a coach in two different states. As a teacher and media specialist, Ross understands how to help students acquire and master new skills. Ross will challenge you, and support you in the process of improving. Ross's greatest pride is seeing his students use the skills they learn to become successful as adults.
Here are topics we will discuss/learn:
How to quickly an analyze tasks in a round
How to analyze the traits of your competitors in a round
How to recognize and master the dynamics of small group communication
How to conduct, file, and prepare research
How to use your research in a round to advance the discussion
How to be a leader in any round
How to reflect on a round and make the most out of a judge's flow
How to prepare for high stakes tournaments (section and state)
How to prepare for the different types of approaches judges have when viewing discussion
Meet Intern Samantha Burke!
My name is Samantha , I'm from Colorado and I live speech! My coaches call it my addiction. I had a very successful season including breaking for finals are almost every tournament, winning a tournament in Poetry, qualifying for state, and making it to semi finals at national qualifiers. Along with being speech captain for both my junior and senior year! I can't wait to continue speech next year at Hastings College and Can't wait to see you this summer!
Meet Intern Melanie Knealing!
Melanie is a recent graduate from Kenyon Wanamingo High School. She has been competing on her school's speech team since 7th grade, and was captain for the 2016-2017 season. Throughout her six years of speech, Melanie has competed in Prose, Creative Expression, and Informative. She has been a camper at SSI for the past three summers. She has advanced to the Section tournament every year since her freshman year in Informative, and has finaled at sections the past two years. Melanie will be competing on Concordia's forensics team in the fall.
Meet coach Brittany Knutson!
Meet coach Brittany Knutson! Brittany Knutson is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Communication Studies. She is from Watertown, SD where she competed for Watertown High School in Original Oratory. She was a member of a multiple state championship team and competed at the national level. During her undergraduate career, she studied at and competed for Gustavus Adolphus College. As a competitor, she performed in multiple national outrounds of Informative, Oratory, and Communication Analysis. Brittany started her speech camp experience with this group of incredible coaches in 2010 as a student and is extremely excited to work next to them for the 6th summer as a member of the Speak2Compete Summer Speech Intensive Staff this summer!
Meet Coach Kelsey Abele!
Kelsey is happy to join the SSI staff for the 7th year as a coach (and two years prior to that she was a camper... because habits die hard). After her graduation from Gustavus, she attended Kansas State University for a masters degree in communication and to coach the KSU team. Since then, she has moved to Arizona to work on a PhD at the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication and coach the ASU team. Since graduating, she has coached multi national finalist including a national champion in impromptu and a finalist in prose this past year. During her competitive years, she was an American Forensics Association All American, placed 2nd in Communication Analysis (similar to Great Speeches in Minnesota), 5th in Prose Interpretation, and ended her senior year placing 17th in AFA individual sweepstakes. She also has semi-finals in Impromptu Speaking, and Dramatic Interpretation, quarter-finals in POI, Drama, prose, rhetorical criticism (it's Communication Analysis, just a different tournament), and poetry interpretation. She has Minnesota Collegiate Forensics Association state titles in prose, POI, and drama, and state finals in drama, prose, duo, communication analysis, impromptu, and poetry. In short, she has competed in every collegiate interpretation category and had national out-rounds in every genre. In high school in Missouri, she competed in prose, drama, and poetry with state finals in each.
Meet Coach Vanessa Condon!
Vanessa Condon is a Lecturer of Communication at Clemson University in South Carolina. Condon had a successful 10 year career in speech and debate. She competed for Mound Westonka High School as well as Gustavus Adolphus College, and coached for South Dakota State University. Condon mentored multiple AFA-NIET qualifiers, and coached numerous Dakota state champions and finalists. As a competitor, Condon was a Minnesota collegiate state finalist, and a PKD (Pi Kappa Delta) national quarter finalist. She was also apart of an AFA (American Forensics Association) top 10 program for the duration of her collegiate career.
Meet Coach Nathan Navratil!
Nathan Navratil competed in high school speech for 5 years, was a two time section winner, and took 4th place in storytelling at state. He currently holds the record for most NSDA points at Centennial High School. His first year at college he qualified four events to the AFA NIET. He also enjoys drinking coffee and being outdoors.
Meet Coach Jadah Morrison!
Jadah Morrison competed on the high school circuit for three years and has just completed her first year in college forensics! She is a multiple national tournament qualifier and quarter-finalist at the NIET-TOC. She is also a sections champion and state qualifier in poetry. Recently she qualified poetry, persuasion, and dramatic interpretation for the AFA- NIET! Her experiences with public address and interp make her an awesome coach!
Meet Coach Dr. Sam Boerboom!
Dr. Sam Boerboom is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at Montana State University Billings. He has been a staff member of this camp since 2009, coaching Great Speeches, Oratory, Prose, and Extemporaneous Speaking. Sam has also worked at the University of Nebraska summer speech camp. At Marshall Senior High School Sam was a two-time Minnesota State High School Speech tournament participant in humorous interpretation. While at the University of Nebraska, Sam was a five-time AFA-NIET out-round competitor in Prose, Communication Analysis, Persuasion, and Duo. While serving as Visiting Assistant Professor at Gustavus Adolphus College, Sam was a volunteer coach working alongside Kris and Cadi with the Gustie Forensics team. Sam has coached several competitors at both the high school and university level to Minnesota State High School Speech tournament final rounds and AFA-NIET out-rounds, respectively. Sam’s coaching philosophy emphasizes how all three speech formats—limited preparation, interpretation, and public address—mutually reinforce one another.
Meet coach Jason Olson!
Jason Olson is the Head Speech Coach at Hutchinson High School. Before that, Jason was the co-head coach at Adrian High School, where he was responsible for coaching multiple state champions, over 20 state finalists, and nearly 50 state participants. Additionally, he has been selected repeatedly by his peers to judge at the state tournament. In 2010 he was Adrian’s Teacher of the Year and also selected as the 2011-2012 Outstanding Speech, Debate, and Theatre Educator for the state of Minnesota. In addition, he has received teaching grants from the Gilder Lehrman Institute, Foreign Policy Research Institute, and the National Endowment for the Humanities and presented several times at the Communication and Theatre Arts Association of Minnesota State Conference. Before Adrian, he was a member of the Southwest Minnesota State University Forensics Team where he qualified multiple events for the AFA National Tournament and was a four year participant in the National Tournament. Currently, he is completing a term as the President of the Minnesota Speech Coaches Association, an organization that represents the speech activity to the Minnesota State High School League and is made up of nearly 200 coaches from around the state. Jason has been working with the Speak2Compete staff for nine years.
Meet Coach Alli Kennon!
Alli is a current competitor on the Hastings College Forensics Team and a volunteer coach for Lakeville South High School. She was the 2016 Minnesota State Champion in Dramatic Interpretation and an NSDA and NIETOC quarterfinalist in Prose and Dramatic Interpretation. She qualified six events to the AFA-NIET as a Freshman this year and was the 2017 Nebraska State Champion in Communication Analysis. Alli is currently pursuing a degree in Communication Studies with Art History and English minors and plans to become a Communications Studies professor. She has a love for animals of all kinds, food, and poetry. She found her passion for forensics at the Summer Speech Institute her Junior year of high school and can't wait to come back again to be apart of others process!
Meet Coach Karina El-Rafai!
Karina was the first person from her school, New York Mills High School, to qualify for the National Speech and Debate competition; She qualified in the category of Drama. Aside from winning regular tournaments in high school, she won both subsections and sections. She was also a state finalist in Dramatic Interpretation. After graduating high school, she decided she wanted to continue competing in forensics. For her freshman year, she attended Hastings College in Nebraska, where she was a state finalist as a freshman in DI. In addition to that, she qualified several events for the American Forensics Association National Individuals Events Tournament (AFA-NIET) - Including Dramatic interpretation. Karina is going into her sophomore year, and will be continuing her double Major in Communications and Political Science at the University of Nebraska at Omaha; she will also be competing on their forensics team. Fun fact: Karina was born in Cairo, Egypt and her first language is Arabic.
Meet intern Courtney Hanson
Courtney Hanson competed at Brookings high school in South Dakota, and is a two time national qualifier for nationals. She qualified her junior year in poi. Her senior year she qualified in duo, and finaled at the qualifier in POI. She was her oral interp teams co-captain this year and has been involved in poetry, readers theater, poi, duo, drama, and storytelling and she has three state superiors in her three years of interp.
Meet Intern Maggie Rogers!
Maggie is Alabama's 2017 Dramatic Interp State Champion and a double qualifier to the 2017 National tournament. She also qualified for Nationals in 2016 competing in Original Oratory in Salt Lake City. Maggie joined her team as a sophomore and is the highest ranking NSDA member on her team and is currently ranked 15th in the state of Alabama. She was Captain of her speech team her junior and senior year. Maggie looks forward to continuing her speech career at the collegiate level while also participating in the honors program at Hastings College.
Meet Coach Stern!
Meet Coach Stern!
Stern may be stern on the outside, but on the inside they are grinning their guts out for their 5th year at camp!!! Stern went to Wayzata High School where they competed in Creative Expression all four years, went to SSI for three years, won the Section 6AA tournament twice, and broke to a National Quarterfinal once. Stern has also coached and mentored multiple Minnesota state finalists in Creative Expression. Now a journalism major at Northwestern University (the one near Chicago), Stern competes in all three genres with one of the top programs in the country.
Meet Coach Lauren Buisker!
Lauren Buisker is a Junior Communication Studies and Political Science Major at South Dakota State University. She is originally from Volga, South Dakota, where she competed on the state’s Oral Interpretation circuit, taking superior ratings at her state contest three consecutive years. She is currently a member of the Jackrabbit Forensics team at South Dakota State, having just finished her second year of competition. Lauren competes in Limited Preparation, Public Address, and Oral Interpretation events as well as Parliamentary Debate. In the past two years, she has qualified multiple events for the American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament. Additionally, Lauren has participated at the Interstate Oratorical Association Contest, the oldest public speaking tournament in the country, during both her years on the Jackrabbit Forensics team.
Meet coach Wesley Deuel!
Wesley Deuel has been doing Speech for three years, and has loved every second. Wesley thoroughly enjoys both Interp and PA, however, Interp will always hold a special place in Wesley's heart. Wesley believes that being able to work with young people is such an amazing opportunity, and having a space to develop such deep connections is a one of a kind. After completing the first year of collegiate speech and returning from the excitement and amazingness that is the national tournament, Wesley is eager to implement new skills and offer up new insight. Wesley thinks that speech is an activity like no other and everyone that does it has been bettered in some capacity, so Wesley looks forward to seeing such bright and eager souls that have such a special love for this activity. Wesley's wants everyone to know that, "your voice matters; so go out and make them listen".