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Three Pequot Lakes Patriots compete at national speech meet

Tabitha Kibwaa cracks top 60 in spoken word poetry

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Olivia Armstrong, left, Tabitha Kibwaa and Steve Maschoff represented the Pequot Lakes Patriots at the National Speech and Debate Association National Tournament from June 13-17, 2022.
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LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — Three members of the Pequot Lakes speech team – Tabitha Kibwaa, Steve Maschoff and Olivia Armstrong – made the trek to Louisville, Kentucky, to compete in the National Speech and Debate Association National Tournament from June 13-17.

Kibwaa competed in U.S. Extemporaneous Speaking and Spoken Word Poetry. In the latter, she advanced to the “octofinal” round before being eliminated, a finish that puts her in the top 60 out of more than 240 in the country in that category.

Spoken word poetry was sort of my supplemental event that I don’t think I applied as much effort to as (U.S. extemporaneous speaking) so to go so far into it was really exciting.
Tabitha Kibwaa, Pequot Lakes speech

“I definitely feel really proud of myself to be able to even be there,” Kibwaa said. “Spoken word poetry was sort of my supplemental event that I don’t think I applied as much effort to as (U.S. extemporaneous speaking) so to go so far into it was really exciting.”

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Tabitha Kibwaa
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She recited a poem titled “The Opportunity,” which she said “explains the difficulties and challenges racial minorities face when they grow up in predominantly white areas.”

Her performance is made more impressive due to the fact that Spoken Word Poetry is not a category in Minnesota high school speech. There is, however, a Poetry category where participants read works from other writers, not their original pieces.

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It was an amazing opportunity,” Kibwaa said. “This was my sixth year in speech, and it is an extracurricular that I think anybody should join, no matter what they are interested in.
Tabitha Kibwaa, Pequot Lakes Speech

“I prefer reading original spoken word poetry,” she said. “Speaking in (nationals) really made me wish that it was a category in our state. I have competed in the normal poetry category before, but it wasn’t really my thing.”

Maschhoff competed in International Extemporaneous Speaking and Extemporaneous Commentary, while Armstrong performed in the Poetry category.

“It was an amazing opportunity,” Kibwaa said. “This was my sixth year in speech, and it is an extracurricular that I think anybody should join, no matter what they are interested in.”

Dan Determan, sports writer/staff writer, may be reached at 218-855-5879 or dan.determan@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Dan.

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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