Marist senior Ashley Kikos will compete in the IHSA speech tournament Friday, February 16 and 17 at the Peoria Civic Center.
Kikos will compete in the impromptu speaking category, which is widely considered to be the most difficult category in IHSA competitive speaking. For this category, students are given a quote, proverb, or idiomatic phrase. They then have two minutes to prepare a six-minute speech. The speech is structured in five-paragraph style and includes three examples which can be from literature, mythology, film, plays, or notable people.
Kikos was recruited to the team by moderator Ms. Sam Paoletti after displaying her skills in speech class her freshman year. "We watched a video of a state champion so she could learn what impromptu was" Paoletti said. "She watched it and immediately decided that one day she would be at state, too."
Over the years, Kikos has won or placed among the top three at multiple tournaments. She advanced to sectionals as a freshman, and again as a junior, but did not qualify for state either time. The third time was the charm in this case. "She is a hard worker, and the type of person who is kind to everyone and easy to root for," Paoletti explained. "When she was a freshman, she would come to me with activities that she had thought of on her own to make her a better speaker. She always roots for and supports all of her teammates. At sectionals, when she made it to state, even students from other schools were congratulating her and cheering for her, because she’s that kind of person."
Kikos advanced to sectionals along with teammates and fellow seniors Cate Hynes, Morgan Johnson, and Liam Kelly. She is also a drum major for the Marist band.
Details on the tournament are available via the IHSA.