Parker Rader, Marshfield, won the state championship in humorous interpretation during the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHAA) Speech and Debate State Championships April 20-21, at Missouri State University in Springfield.
Rader was one of the top state qualifiers to compete in two rounds, with two judges scoring individually in each round. The individuals with the best cumulative scores advanced to the final round to be judged by three coaches. Rader received the best scores for his piece, “Controlling Interests,” by Wayne S. Rawley. The script follows four successful young businessmen gathering for their weekly staff meeting, where the issue of girls is on the table. Two persuasive young businesswomen arrive to negotiate the ultimate deal: the boys may start liking them, but only on the girls’ terms. Greg Holtschneider, MHS Speech and Debate coach, worked with Rader on the piece, cutting a few things that did not fit with their performance and adding a few small elements with timing.
“It is basically a group of 8-10-year-old boys having a meeting, as if they were adults,” said Holtschneider. “It is very funny. I cannot say for sure why Parker Rader chose it, but I believe he had seen a different version a few years ago and wanted to give it a try because it was so funny.”
Rader has been competing with the team all four years in high school, participating in many different events. Last year, he and his partner, Emily Matthews, advanced all the way to the semifinal round at the national championships, finishing 13th in the nation. Rader is the fourth state champion in the last four years for the MHS Speech and Debate team, according to Holtschneider. Last year, Seth Graham won in the Radio Speaking category. Eli DePriest and Tanner Geren received the state championship in 2016 for Duet Acting and Gabby Fox won for Prose Reading in 2015.
“I am so very proud of him,” said Holtschneider. “He was very disappointed at the National Speech and Debate Association district tournament when his piece did not advance. When he talked to me about it, I told him the best way to respond to that disappointment would be to win the state tournament. He did.”