Harrisburg Set To Host 2016 State Oral Interpretation Festival

Posted by Nate Wek on

The first State Declamation Contest was held in 1910 as part of that year’s State High School Track and Field Meet.  In 1911, the first state-wide Declamation Contest was held independent of the State Track Meet.  From those modest beginnings over 100 years ago the contest has evolved into the modern State Oral Interpretation Festival of today.  This year students from 89 South Dakota high schools will compete in the 107th Annual SDHSAA State Oral Interpretation Festival on Friday and Saturday December 2 and 3 at Harrisburg High School in Harrisburg, SD.

This year’s State Interpretation Festival competitors have qualified for the Festival through a combination local school, district and regional competitions. The Festival will feature a combined total of 310 Class "AA", Class "A" and Class "B" entries. The Class "B" State Oral Festival competitors were determined by advancing from one of the ten district contests to a Class “B” regional contest and advancing from their region contest to the State Festival.  The Class "A" State Festival competitors qualified for the State Festival after advancing from one of five Class “A” regional contests.  Class "AA" contestants have advanced to the State Festival as a result of intraschool competition in their own schools.  The 2016 State Oral Interpretation Festival will showcase competitive performances by 99 entries from 15 Class "AA" schools, 105 entries from 33 Class "A" schools and 106 entries from 41 Class "B" schools.

The State Oral Interpretation Festival, sponsored by the South Dakota High School Activities Association, brings together South Dakota’s best high school oral interpretation speakers in a “festival” setting.  During the State Festival the students will compete to achieve a "Superior" rating which is the equivalent of a state championship in their contest event.  State Oral Interpretation Festival competition is divided into seven contest events: Non-Original Oratory, Interpretation of Serious Reading, Storytelling, Poetry Reading, Humorous Reading, Duet Interpretation, and Readers Theatre. 

The State Oral Interpretation Festival competition will begin on Friday morning, December 2nd at 9:00 a.m.  The Festival's second and third sessions will be held at 1:30 Friday afternoon and at 6:00 Friday evening respectively The Festival will conclude with two sessions at 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday December 3rd.  The awards for each session’s competition will be announced at the conclusion of the session.  “Team Excellence” awards, recognizing the high schools whose over-all entries excelled during the State Festival, will be presented at the conclusion of competition on Saturday afternoon.

The public is encouraged to attend any or all of the sessions of the State Festival.

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