For The Act, Ardmore City Schools’ speech and debate team, regionals and the national qualifying tournaments may be behind them, but their work has just begun.
The team wrapped up their national qualifying tournament at the end of February and regionals at the end of March. The Act Coach Brian Gunter said the team won their fourth regional championship in a row.  
“You go to one tournament on Thursday, get home on Sunday, and then turn around the next Thursday and do it again,” Gunter said.
The Act qualified 40 events for state, comprised of 25 students in single and team events.
“Some of them are kids in their first year of competition,” Gunter said. “We average about 40 events each year, which is an awful lot. There were some kids who were on the team for four years, and this was their first time.”
Alexia Girard, a senior, placed first in original oratory, poetry interpretation and monologue acting.
“We’ve never had a person win three first place medals at a regional tournament before,” Gunter said. “That’s the first one since I was in high school in 1993.”
Gunter said this year was a breakout year for students that competed in extemporaneous debate, with more students placing higher than previous years.  
“Out of all 13 events we do, the ones we’re most known for is hard to say,” Gunter said. “Monologue acting is something, dramatic interpretation, and this year our numbers went up in humorous interpretation… that really stepped up.”
 He said students’ original oratory performance has improved as well, citing work with acting coach Kei Brown, who worked with students on their pieces throughout the year.   
“Original oratory started picking up for us last year and this year when we started implementing a specific acting coach,” Gunter said.
The state championship is the first week of April at OSU, followed by the NIETOC and NSDA national tournaments, which will take place out of state. True to form, students will be working through spring break to prepare.
“What’s already started is I take inventory of the events I feel need the most improvement and I step up their rehearsal time,” Gunter said. “The kids who are doing a really great job, I give them a small break so they’re not rehearsing everyday. Sometimes, it’s best to set something down and come back to it, especially if they’ve worked really hard on it.”
He said at this stage, he’s working with students on the smallest details of blocking, timing, characterization and choreography.
“There’s not anything going to state that’s in dire need of help, but there are things I know every student needs help with because there wasn’t time to work on them earlier,” Gunter said.