'America Without a Dream' speech sends student to All-State

Photo by Ethan Goetz/Journal-ExpressJack Lauer, left, with teacher Mrs. Laura Oliver.

PLEASANTVILLE — A Pleasantville High School student has been honored with a trip to All-State to showcase his talent in public speaking.

Jack Lauer, a sophomore, won the judges over with his original oratory, “America Without a Dream.”

“Original oratory is an eight-minute piece where it is a self-written speech,” Lauer said. “Usually the speech is inspirational or persuasive covering topics from environmental, political to socio-economics.”

Typically, original oratory speeches try to persuade others to better society. This is the broad consensus of the category, Lauer said.

Lauer's speech was on racial gender and social inequalities in America. The basis of his speech was to persuade people of all genders to unite as one as American people.

“It was a fun one to write,” Lauer said.

Last year, Lauer did original oratory and made it to state, but not all-state. Over the summer Lauer decided he wanted to do original oratory again.

“I wrote about three pages’ worth on Google Drive during the summer,” Lauer said. “I basically cut it down from there.”

Lauer said Mrs. Oliver, his English teacher, was a huge help.

“She is just a great coach all-around. It is all thanks to her,” Lauer said.

State was held at Vinton-Shellsburg High School in Vinton, Iowa near Cedar Rapids.

The state contest has a rating system of one to three. Getting all ones is the highest rating a student can receive from the judge panel. This is the rating Lauer received from the judges.

“Usually a good indication you have a chance to make all-state is when you get straight ones,” Lauer said.

To make it to All-State the person has to get nominated by three judges. The judges meet a day after state and convene and talk about nominations to all-state, Lauer said.

Ultimately, the judges nominated Lauer.

All-State will be held in Cedar Falls at the University of Northern Iowa campus.

“All-State is more of a festival. It's not really a competition,” Lauer said. “You still want to do well, but it is also like, 'Hey, let's have a fun time.'”

What is most important about original oratory is having fun and sharing your talent with those who watch, and sharing your message with those who want to hear it, Lauer said.

Ethan Goetz is a general assignment reporter for the Knoxville Journal-Express. He can be reached in the newsroom at 641-842-2155, ext. 19, or via email at reporter@pellachronicle.com. Follow him on Twitter @Ethan_Goetz.

Recommended for you