From the trailer park airwaves to All-State

Left to right: Jaime Schulte, Aaliyah Heldman, Taylor Conrad, Anna Duwa, Addie Swanson, MiKayla Beatty and Kendall Wilson. Photo submitted. 

            The small science room in Linn-Mar High School found itself crowded within minutes of the room opening for the next audience group. Converted into a makeshift performance room, those waiting in the hallway found most of the chairs already occupied by their fellow Keota natives. Many had to stand, filling up the space quickly and uncomfortable in some cases. No one honestly seemed to mind too much, as excited parents and expectant friends waited for the next performing speech group to start.

            After a short wait and everyone possible crammed in, the judges were ready with their sheets and the room chaperone reminded everyone that the use of recording devices and phones were prohibited during the performance, signaling the performance to begin. All eyes were front and center, until a group of seven sophomore girls barrel into the room. As they made their way to the front, Aaliyah Heldman, Jaime Schulte and Kendall Wilson are swarmed and fussed over by their classmates Mikayla Beatty, Taylor Conrad, Anna Duwa, and Addie Swanson. Each of the girls essentially talked over one another in a southern accent as they readied themselves for their big show. The three girls took to their seats, seconds away from going “live” for their radio audience. Barely seconds in and spectators were chuckling. Finally, everything was set as three students were set in the front and the remaining four girls stood in back, facing away from the audience.

            “Gooood morning Luna Del Mar!” Heldman, Schulte and Wilson greet in perfect unison.

            And here begins Trailer Park Broadcasting Scandal, a Reader’s Theatre brought to life by the combined efforts off all seven sophomore students from Keota High School. For the next 10 minutes, the group produces laugh after tear-inducing laugh from their audiences and three judges as the girls act out a hilarious morning radio program chalked full of southernisms, an unhelpful weather update, public shaming, a sea cow beauty pageant and an angry wife calling in about her “no good husband.”

            “Seeing that room packed gave us the right enthusiasm we needed,” Heldman said. “One issue we have always wonder about is if the crowd will stay with us through the whole entire piece, and the crowd gives us that the whole time at Districts. Without them, it wouldn’t be good.”

            Applause roars as the girls bow their heads to end their skit. Another solid performance each of the girls hopes has carried them to the coveted level of All-State in two weeks. Everyone piles out of the room and into the hallway, embracing their daughters and congratulating them on a good job well done.

            “To come out of a performance like that and you know it was our best and then have everyone swarm you to tell you how good it was feels amazing,” Schulte said.

            Hours later, Trailer Park Broadcasting Scandals was reported as earning Division I ratings from all three judges, the highest possible ratings for a speech performance. But no one in the group, nor their instructors Gina Bennett or Mike McNurlen, would know if they were going on to All-State until that next Monday. Days later, the results were posted online and the girls learned they were going to All-State for the first time in their high school careers.

            “After we performed at Districts, I felt we were doing something good,” Swanson said. “We were all excited when we learned we were going to All-State with this performance. It was the goal for all of us.”

Please view the February 21 edition of The Keota Eagle for the full story.