Eagle Valley’s speech sensation | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley’s speech sensation

GYPSUM — Lydia Loupe speaks about fear, convincingly. Although she doesn't seem to have much fear, she knows it when she sees it.

Loupe, headed into her sophomore year at Eagle Valley High School, qualified for next week's national speech and debate finals in Salt Lake City. She'll compete in Informative Speaking.

"I identify what fear is, whether or not fears are rational, and when they can be helpful," she said.

Fear looks different at different stages of life.

“I don’t know what they’re thinking about me or about my speech. That sort of unknown will make you a little antsy. But I don’t let it stop me.”Lydia Loupe

Zombies from "The Walking Dead"? Nope. Not all that terrifying.

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"Merriam Webster defines the emotion of fear as a reason for alarm or an anxious concern," Loupe said.

The body reacts when you're afraid — sweating, increased heart rate and adrenaline. That's your brain is telling you there is something to be afraid of.

Standing in front of judges ready to perform, Loupe experiences some of these.

"Giving speeches, I get really afraid because I can't read people's thoughts. I don't know what they're thinking about me or about my speech. That sort of unknown will make you a little antsy," Loupe said. "But I don't let it stop me."

Sometimes it's harmful, sometimes it's helpful. Sometimes it keeps you alive.

"It's always there, no matter how minimal it is," Loupe said.

Loupe said she faced down serious depression, but didn't want to talk about recovery for Informative Speaking, because people talk about it all the time. Then she hit on this idea.

"Not everyone deals with depression, but everyone is afraid of something," Loupe said.

Rookie of the Year

This was Loupe's first year for high school speech. She gave speeches in middle school, and she's great in front of a crowd, but had never competed.

She and third-year coach Katie Uhnavy are ascending to the rarefied air of the nationals for the first time.

Informative speaking is new this year, and Loupe rolled the dice. She had competed all year in Original Oratory, which wraps all kinds of data and information around a personal story. In the 15-year-old Loupe's case, it was the story of her life so far.

When Uhnavy asked her if she wanted to make the switch, Loupe looked at the mass of humanity lining up to compete in Original Oratory, thought about it for less time than it takes voters to sigh and roll their eyes about this year's presidential field, and decided to take the risk and try Informative Speaking.

"Yup! Let's go!" she said.

And go she did.

She tweaked her speech a little bit, entered Informative Speaking and took second in the national qualifiers and is headed for next week's nationals in Salt Lake City.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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