Fillmore Central student talks his way to medal

Fillmore Central speech coach Jackie Whitacre with medal-winning Collen Dahle. JENNIFER CHRISTOPH/NEWS LEADER
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Fillmore Central junior Collen Dahle talked his way to a medal at the state speech tournament.

The son of Amy Dahle and Brian Dahle, he placed eighth in the Minnesota Class A State Speech Tournament held at Apple Valley School April 20 to 21.

Dahle has competed in speech for the past three years under coach Jackie Whitacre. He was the first student of hers to win at state and also the first Fillmore Central speech student to win a medal at state in 13 years.

“This has been a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I couldn’t have done it without Mrs. Whitacre and Rianna Ryan,” said Dahle about her coach and a fellow speech team competitor.

The first step in the process of competing is deciding the category to compete in. Dahle chose to compete in the serious drama category.   

The next step was finding the script he wanted to read. He chose a script about a man who was socially awkward and didn’t have many friends in real life, while online, on the other hand, he had many friends. The man analyzes why he has so many friends online, but not many in real life. He becomes sad and depressed as he realizes his “friends” aren’t really friends but are, instead, followers. He eventually commits suicide due to this realization.

The final step in the process is writing an intro to describe the script and how it correlates. Once these steps are done, it’s on to competition.

Dahle had to finish in the top six to advance when he performed at subsections. He then moved onto sections where he had to be one of the top three to go to state to compete. At state, he competed against 24 students from the entire state of Minnesota.

When asked if he would compete again next year, he said, “Yes. I will look at all options and decide what category and script next year.”

Whitacre is not only proud of Dahle, but of the entire speech team. There were 18 students this season and with the hire of Austen Whitacre as an assistant, the coach could spend more time with each student.

“The older students helped the younger students and everyone worked together this year,” she said.

Though speech is over, Whitacre and Dahle remain busy as they are currently practicing for spring play. You can catch Dahle and the rest of the spring play troupe along with director Whitacre on May 4 at 8 p.m. or May 9 at 7 p.m. Dahle will be playing Arthur Reoder, one of the main protagonists in the play “Radium Girls.”