Providence Academy’s multi-talented Anika Austvold, ‘24, competed in the National Speech 2023 Tournament in Chanhassen, Minnesota. To receive this honor of participating in the tournament speech contestants must either receive two bids from judges or win the Minnesota State High School Speech Tournament. Austvold received two bids after her jaw dropping speech performance.  

Austvold and Pia Leiseth, ’23, feel accomplished after placing at a speech competition. PAW Photo Credit: Megan Simonsen.

Austvold has been on the PA Speech team since ninth grade. Over the past three years, she has grown more confident on the stage. At first, Austvold was nervous about the competitions, as talking in front of a crowd can be intimidating especially when being scored by judges. After much practice, she now performs with ease.

“I joined speech because I thought it would be a good way for me to learn how to talk in front of people,” Austvold explained. 

When the speech season starts contestants pick a category that allows them to speak on a topic of their choice. Per usual Austvold took part in the “Original Oratory” category. Her speech was titled,”Expectations vs. Reality.” It took her three weeks to write the speech as well as more time to fine tune it. Austvold’s topic was based on an idea that she is able to relate to. 

“While creating my speech I try to find jokes and base most of my speech off of how I can make people enjoy it,” said Austvold.

It was no surprise that her speech blew the judges away, as Austvold is a very gifted writer. This year at the Providence Academy Word (PAW) Austvold has taken on the title of Editor in Chief. She is easily able to stream words together and paint a picture for her audience. Her role as Editor allows her to guide others while they perfect their writing skills. 

Austvold commented, “My favorite part about journalism is being able to learn about all the things that go on around campus, it gives me a different perspective.” 

Austvold and Kira Cmiel, ’23, smile at the line of people waiting to sign up for Letters of Love at the Club Fair. PAW Photo Credit: Olivia Trader, ’23.

These aren’t the only things Austvold devotes her time to. She is heavily involved in the PA community as she partakes in many extracurriculars and clubs, including being the Kappa House leader, Vice President of Letters of Love, a tennis player, a Girls Scout, and a volunteer at various organizations. 

“Nationals was definitely an experience. There were so many speeches and different styles of presenting. It was really overwhelming because I was going against a lot of people who had titles, such as state champion,” commented Austvold.  

Austvold celebrates homecoming with Kappa House. PAW Photo Credit: Amy Fredrickson

It is an extreme compliment to be awarded a ticket to speech nationals. This year only 2,000 students were invited to the tournament. Austvold’s category was comprised of 200 students. Throughout the season Austvold put a lot of time and effort into perfecting her speech, but she was still surprised when the opportunity to attend speech nationals was presented to her. The chance to prove her skills on a bigger stage was rewarding for Austvold.

Austvold gave it her all at speech nationals and ended up placing 102nd. Next year she hopes to once again showcase her expertise on the stage allowing her to add to her ever growing list of accomplishments.