Wildcat Whisper Speech Meet

Kristian Perez, News Writer

Wayne State College hosted their second ever Wildcat Whisper on Oct. 14 and 15. 

Jonathan Laner, a graduate assistant in the department of communications at WSC, said this was the inaugural year of the Wildcat Whisper because it’s their second your being reinstated as a team. 

“We had five students on the team ready to perform at the Wildcat Whisper, Faatimah Kouatli, Jadyn Burenheide, Brayden Almgren, Collin Hain and Kirsten Fike,” Laner said. “Other schools from Nebraska and Kansas made the trek to Wayne to compete in the tournament as well.” 

Laner said that the meet used to be hosted under different professors. 

“There was a time, back in the day, that Wayne State hosted a meet here on campus under the direction of Ron and Deb Whitt,” Laner said. “In fact, if you were to look in the hallway to Whitt’s current office at the trophy case, you will see some trophies from past awards.” 

Laner said he has always had an interest in speech meets.  

“I started competing in high school as a freshman, but it wasn’t until I met my former coach and mentor, Traci Sindelar of the Howells-Dodge speech team, that I really feel in love with the activity,” Laner said.  

Laner said he even had the opportunity to go back and become the assistant coach for his mentor which is where he really fell in love with the coaching side of speech.  

“I coached for seven years before I was given the opportunity to come back to Wayne State to get my master’s degree and coach the WSC team,” Laner said. “I have truly found what makes me happy, doing this and working with the students, seeing them succeed and grow, not only as performers but as people.”  

Laner said at the event there are 11 recognized events in the college speech circuit, which can be split into categories such as public speaking, and interpretation.  

“Public speaking events are those that are original speeches, written by the students with the means to inform or persuade and sometimes entertain,” Laner said. “Interpretation events take various genres of literature and make a 10-minute cutting focusing on a themes, story, or characterization.” 

Laner said the event had a really great turnout.  

“Wayne State qualified two events to nationals, Kirsten Fike and Brayden Almgren in Duo interpretation and Jadyn Burenheide in Extemporaneous speaking,” Laner said. “The Tournament ran smoothly and there was no real issue getting rounds started or getting behind the tentative schedule.” 

Laner said he meets with students individually to get a feel for the student’s comfort level and what experience they have in forensics.  

“After I meet with the student, we decide on an event, and choose a script or theme for the event, once that’s decided, we meet once a week per event and work on memorization, blocking, delivery, etc. to get each speech up to performance level,” Laner said.  

Laner said if students have any interest in joining the speech club to reach out to him or any member of the team.  

“The world of forensics is a great place, everyone is so supportive of one another and it’s a place that one can speak about what they’re passionate about,” Laner said.  

Laner said that he it is better to spectate before going right in. 

“I would encourage everyone to go be a spectator at a college meet before diving right in,” Laner said. “We offer two meets, the Wildcat Whisper in the Fall and we co-host a tournament, the talking like cats and dogs, with Concordia University, Nebraska in the Spring.” 

Laner said that if anyone is interested in speech, they can contact him. 

“If anyone is interested in a speech at WSC, please email me at [email protected] and we can definitely discuss what speech on the college level entails,” Laner said.  

Kirsten Fike, a member of the Speech Club at WSC said she felt that the speech meeting went great.  

“It was so exciting to host for the first time,” Fike said. “We were also able to have some success as a team, with several of our members winning medals, overall, it was a wonderful weekend.”