I have faced barriers before. I started doing individual speech events my freshman year of high school. Many of my friends were able to win at the district level and move on to state, but I struggled to get close to going. I tried and tried, but was unable to get the rating I needed to move on.

I got so frustrated that I wanted to quit, but I just kept going. My sophomore year I ended up messing up my performance. I had to much written down to get it read in the amount of time given. With thirty seconds left, I had five paragraphs to read, and I had to make last a last minute edit. I finished just as the timer went off, and bowed by head. Afterwards I felt like I could get it, but again, fell just short of the ratingĀ I needed.

Junior year I went to a classic author, instead of a newer one, and chose to preform Edgar Allen Poe’s The Sphinx. The Wednesday before districts we went to our conference tournament. I preformed extremely well, and won the category. I just knew after that that I would get it that year. We went to districts and I again preformed well, but again, fell just short of going to state. I was devastated. I’d worked so hard to get there, and it just slipped through my fingers once more.

Finally, in my senior year, I decided that no matter what, I was going to go to state. I practiced much longer than anyone else did, and started before I even needed to. We hosted conference tournament that year, and I ended up getting third in the category, so I became a little wary. But all of the hours of hard work that I put in paid off, because at districts, I blew the judge away with my performance. And you know what? I finally got to go to state competition.