Speech Team wins E. Wayne Cooley award, Critics Choice for 2 performances

Samantha Barklow (11) and Brady Booth (12) pose with Coach Aaron Dean after receiving Critic’s Choice for their Ensemble Acting, “Night Mother”

Dubuque Senior Drama Department Press Release

On Saturday, February 16, the Dubuque Senior Speech Team performed at the Iowa High School Speech Association Large Group All-State Festival at Iowa State University. The team of 94 Dubuque Senior students entertained audiences in performances ranging from Musical Theatre to Short Film. The Dubuque Senior Speech Team proudly closed the ceremony by claiming the E. Wayne Cooley Sweepstakes Trophy for most All-State performances at the festival. In addition, the team received two Critics’ Choice Awards in the categories of Ensemble Acting and Group Mime.

The E. Wayne Cooley Sweepstakes Trophy is a traveling trophy given to the school that receives the most outstanding performance nominations to the Iowa High School Speech Association All-State Festival. Dubuque Senior earned the honor by garnering 15 outstanding performance honors to this year’s festival. In addition, the team received three additional Special Recognition (non-performing) All-State nominations. This is the sixth overall Sweepstakes win for the team and their fourth state championship in seven years.

In the category of Ensemble Acting, ‘Night Mother received the Critic’s Choice Award. Written by Marsha Norman, it features senior Brady Booth and junior Samantha Barklow. This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play examines the dramatic intricacies of a family dealing with life and death. It was directed by Aaron Dean. Critic was Katy Hahn from the University of Northern Iowa.

In the category of Group Mime, Getting It Write was selected as the Critic’s Choice performance. Conceived by the cast, it is a humorous forward/backwards look at the creative writing of a first date. It features seniors Peyton Decker, Katie Hansen, and Kate Tonn. It was directed by Ms. Megan Schumacher. Critics were Brian Begley and Mary Inman of Discovery Mime Theatre and the University of South Dakota.

Iowa High School Speech Association Information:

The E. Wayne Cooley Trophy is named after the former Executive Secretary of the Iowa High School Girls Athletic Union who also served as Executive Vice President to the Iowa High School Speech Association, a position he held from 1963 to his retirement in 2002.

  • The Critic’s Choice Award is given by a professional to his or her performance of choice in each category.
  • The Ensemble Acting banner will be the ninth in school history (last won in 2016), a category created in 1984
  • The Group Mime banner will be the seventh in school history (last won in 2017)
  • The award is a traveling banner, which Dubuque Senior will return to the All-State Festival next year.
  • This marks the twenty-first banner win in fifteen years for Dubuque Senior High School.
  • This brings the total number of banners in IHSSA history at Senior High School to 33.
  • This also marks the first back-to-back Large Group Sweepstakes in school history.
  • The Dubuque Senior Speech Team also retains the Individual Events Sweepstakes Trophy

Thank you to Mr. Greg Ernzen for providing the media release