Logan Kropp qualifies for national competition

He lowers his head and takes a deep breath.  Then, he looks up and slowly begins to speak, pulling his audience into the heartbreaking story of Charlie Gordon, a mentally disabled man who undergoes a surgical procedure to increase his intelligence in Daniel Keyes, “Flowers For Algernon.”  Not many could walk viewers through Charlie Gordon’s journey in a matter of only ten minutes, but, for speech-and-debate participant Logan Kropp, it’s all in a day’s work.

“You have to do the piece justice,” he said.

Kropp, a junior, will be one of three students from Montana to perform his piece at Nationals in Kansas City, Kans. on June 15-20 in the dramatic interpretation event.  He won first place in the state for his piece at the National Forensic League qualifier speech meet in Missoula on Feb. 14-15, and he will be the only student from Great Falls competing at Nationals.  He continuously worked on the piece and has performed it since September.

“It has been a work in progress in what works, what doesn’t, how to capitalize on emotional moments, and how to make the most out of emotional moments,” he said.

Before meets, Kropp said he gets nervous, but he doesn’t let it affect his performance.

“It’s good to have some nervousness because it shows you care,” he said.  “It’s all about channeling that nervous energy to help you with your speech.”

He said that having supportive teammates from across the state is a big help.

“I have made so many friends from speech and debate,” he said.  “It’s amazing to see them every weekend.”

Kropp said he has found that dramatic pieces tend to be his forte over the more comedic ones he did his freshman and sophomore year.

“I have been surprised this season because I didn’t place at all last year, and this season I have been placing a lot,” he said.  “This season has been amazing.”

It is rewarding to see reactions to his speech, he said. It brought one of his teammates to tears.

“To see her like that, it was sad, but it was cool to see that I had made that emotional connection,” he said.

Kropp hopes to make the same connection with judges at Nationals, and he is grateful to have been chosen to perform at the meet.

“Going to Nationals is really just an honor in itself,” he said.  “It is every speech and debater’s dream to go.”