Marshalltown High School juniors Abby Snyder and Ilene Finn are already friends. This year they also share the honor of being national qualifiers in speech.
Both qualified for the national forensic tournament in June in Birmingham, Ala. after standout performances in last month's district competition in Muscatine.
"It's a recognition of their hard work and their talent," said MHS forensics coach Janelle Hawk. "The national level is the cream of the crop."
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Marshalltown High School juniors Abby Snyder, left, and Ilene Finn have qualified for the national speech tournament. They will compete in June in Alabama.
Both will compete in the legislative debate category. Snyder, 17, will be bringing with her plenty of experience as she has now qualified for nationals for three straight years.
"It's a great experience because you get to pick up a lot of techniques," Snyder said.
Snyder said she felt she improved last year at nationals because the experience she had the year before. She looks forward to seeing what she can accomplish this summer with two years of nationals experience under her belt. Hawk has high hopes for Snyder to possibly reach the semifinalist level this year.
For Finn, 16, being selected for nationals was a shocking experience.
"I was very much in shock but was also very glad since Abby and I are friends," Finn said. "I think it will be nice to be around the best of the best."
They will be in Alabama June 16 through 21 and Hawk looks forward to seeing what both students can do.
"Abby is going with some experience so I expect her to improve," Hawk said. "And Ilene is going for the first time and I think she'll do well."
MHS has qualified a student for nationals each of the last five years. The two are currently seeking funds to help pay for their trip to Alabama and donations can be sent to Marshalltown High School.