What it is like being a captain

Ava Burns and Meenakshi Swaminathan on leading the Speech Team


Courtesy of Ava Burns

Ava Burns and Meenakshi Swaminathan at one of their many meets of the Speech Team season.

By Sarah Christenson

As she prepares herself for her seven and a half minute speech, she must battle the nerves that rush through her body and swarm her head. As she faces the judge for her extemporary speech, she prepares for the rollercoaster to take off. The nerves have her stuck at the top of the rollercoster until the speech comes to an end.

“I know one of my weaknesses is if I get nervous, I’m going to do bad. I to make sure to be calm, and take deep breaths,” captain Meenakshi Swaminathan said. Meenakshi goes into explaining how this connects with the importance of being a captain.

“I remember how scary it was for me freshman year and even sophomore [year] online,” Swaminathan said. “Having to speak in front of someone that you don’t know, and they’re literally judging you is, terrifying in my opinion. So I think fostering a positive team mindset and environment is really important to me.”

To Ava Burns, being a captain means, “You’re doing the morning announcements, and you’re helping out all the speech team prepare for the event.” Ava Burns carrys on her brothers legacy as captain of the speech team. “So it’s really cool to be able to follow in his footsteps and just bring something new to the table,” Burns said.

Swaminathan explains that “last year I really liked how we focused on improving our skills. It was more personal growth rather than just for the win. This year we are focusing [more on] working together [and] supporting each other,” Swaminathan said. In order for the team to accomplish what they did and are working on, “Good worth ethic and [making] sure not to get nervous,” are some things that help, Swaminathan said. “Last year, we were able to advance four people to regionals, sectionals and one person off to state,” Burns said. When it comes to going to state, “We normally have a few people make it to state. We have a lot of talented people. So it’s really cool to be able to do that. Hopefully, we’ll get more people there this year,” Burns said.

Speech team advisor Matt Green goes into detail to say that some important qualities to being a captain or team leader are “Being able to communicate effectively with the other team members [and] being able to build relationships with all [of] the kids on the team. I think the other big thing is that you have to be good at the events you are competing in,” Green said.

Good luck to the speech team during their season this year. Swaminathan and Burns seem to be pushing the team to give their best performance.