Three AHS Students Accepted into All-State Individual Speech


Freshmen J. Molina and Juniors Charlotte Saluk and Reese DeArment pose beside the All-State acceptance list. The list was posted on Monday, March 14. High school students across the state were looking forward to the posting.

Eleanor McCalla

On Monday, March 14, individual speech participants gathered in speech coach Ms. Niceswanger’s room after school to read ballots from Saturday’s state speech competition and wait for the reveal of the All-State acceptance list. Juniors Charlotte Saluk and Reese DeArment, along with freshman J. Molina, all made it in to All-State. According to Saluk, “All-State is very big deal that most people don’t understand. It is the highest you can get for IHSSA. It’s basically the equivalent of making the final round for a state sport.”

Individual speech season began on Feb. 26, when 24 students traveled to CAM High School with 33 entries. 28 of the entries earned division 1 ratings and advanced on to state. Then, on March 12, 10 students earned straight ones at state and were therefore eligible for All-State. Each entry at state is judged by three judges, and if at least two of the judges write a recommendation for a piece to move on to All-State, it does.

Saluk made it to All-State for the Poetry category, performing a piece called “An Ode to the Women on Long Island.” DeArment was accepted in the category of Prose, and her piece is called “Explaining Death to the Dog.” Molina’s piece was called “NOCPP,” and is a part of the category After-Dinner Speaking.

Speech coach Mr. Baggett said he was excited for the students who made it to all-state, albeit “a little sad for some of our students who received straight ones with excellent comments who didn’t make it to [All-State].”

Saluk has made All-State four times before, although “it was all during Covid so I never got to actually go to the festival.” She is “so happy” that she gets to attend it in person this year.

DeArment, however, only joined speech this year, and “was so shocked and surprised” when she saw her name on the PDF. “Especially since it is my first year in speech, I was not expecting it at all whatsoever,” she said.

When Molina found out they made it to All-State, they were “screeching in joy.” “I took [the news] in way better than I maybe expected.”

All three participants plan to pursue speech in future years. According to DeArment, “The whole speech team is just so welcoming and amazing, they are all so sweet and make you feel so comfortable and welcome. If someone really wants to be included on a team that will accept you no matter who you are, speech is the way to go. Its just an amazing experience overall.”