PIVOT–PIVOT-PIVOT! – A Tale of Virtual Contests!

PIVOT–PIVOT-PIVOT! – A Tale of Virtual Contests!

By Joyce Trimble, DTM, Contest Coordinator

May 16 and District 25’s Contest Season is over.

As this year’s Contest Coordinator, it seemed it would never start. . . and then came that blink of the eye moment!

The word pivot has been trending most of the season.  What is a pivot?  In the military, during a march, a pivot involves rising on the balls of both feet, turning 180 degrees to the right, and then stepping forward with left foot in the new direction.   Working in Excel, you use a Pivot Table to extract the significant portions of a large detailed data set.  Both meanings have been used this year.

Pivot 1.

No Fall Contest?  The lack of camaraderie, challenge, and competition left us feeling empty.    We reconciled ourselves to disappointment and stepped off, in true military style, to the new destination of a single spring contest season.  We patiently waited.


Pivot 2.

District 25 has a wealth of resources for contests.  Each area/division/district contest season has its own written script.  Yet, the district had never held a combined Evaluation and International Speech contest.  Previous scripts were combined and then personalized.  Chris Raneri, Program Quality Director, and I tweaked, tweaked and then tweaked some more until we were both satisfied with the new contest script.  We just needed to wait a tad longer before contest season began.



Pivot 3. 

After two weekends of fulfilling that long-awaited need to be with each other, we got the news!

What?  We can’t meet anymore!?  No need to worry; our Trio had gathered prior to the official announcement and they knew exactly how this was going to unfold.  Before I go any further, I must stop and share what an unbelievable and amazing vision they had for each phase of the now zoom-hosted contests.  Within days, Chris had rewritten the contest script.  He had extracted the significant actions required for a contest and made them virtual.  Our Division Director, Jamie Pickering, had revised evaluation forms, ballots and timing sheets creating fillable fields that could be easily used by judges, assistants and the Chief Judge.  D25 Chief Judge, Elizabeth Gray and I revised briefing scripts.  Contestants embraced new presentation skills.  What was the vision?  It was a Monet!  A Debussy!  A Masterpiece of creativity and implementation.

Many thanks to Highway to Excellence for testing the new virtual scripts at their club contest.   It provided the first of many improvements.  And Chuck Mencke’s contributions of best practices–we can’t thank him enough.

I laughingly told the Trio I had agreed to serve as the Contest Coordinator and Outreach Chair because you write a script/ create a few documents/sit back and enjoy the contests. Not this year!  Each contest script required multiple changes that led to a successful completion of a Pivot-Pivot-Pivot contest season.   And yes, I’d do it again!  It was worth it to see each smiling face receiving area, division and district trophies.  Just look at those district happy faces!


District 25 International Speech contest began virtual briefing at 3:00PM May 16, and contest started promptly at 4:30PM.

Click to view photos

Hall of Fame – Contest winners

District 25 International Speech Contest Winners