For the first time in recent history, Waconia High School will offer students a competitive speech team that will participate in Minnesota State High School League sanctioned events.

Student interest, donor funding, and leadership from High School Social Studies Teacher Joey Kretchman-Grande led to District leaders approving the team’s change in status from a club to an official high school varsity activity starting this winter.

“Joey has taken his passion for high school speech and has been a leader throughout this process,” Superintendent Brian Gersich said. “I also want to thank Nate Matousek at State Farm Insurance and a second anonymous, who made significant donations toward the establishment of this program. And finally, I want to recognize the importance of the students who have made their voices heard and strongly advocated for this opportunity.”

Kretchman-Grande says that he has had close to 30 high school students attend informational meetings about the team and that they have approximately a dozen students who have already officially registered to participate.

“This gets a group of students together who might not otherwise have a competitive experience during their high school career,” he said. “This gives them a chance to be part of a team and also network with students from other schools. Speech really builds skills like public speaking, self-confidence, the ability to carry on conversations with people and learning how to present yourself well in a formal setting.”

Kretchman-Grande said that all ISD 110 students in grades 8-12 are welcome to join the team. Interested students and families can either drop by his classroom at the High School or email him at for more information.

The team will officially start practice when students return to school following the Thanksgiving Break on Monday, November 27. The team’s first competition will take place on January 20. The team will compete in Section 2AA with the likes of area schools such as Chanhassen, Chaska, Mound-Westonka, Orono, New Prague, Shakopee, and several others. This year’s State Speech Tournament will take place April 19-20 at Shakopee High School.