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The Student News Site of Plainfield East High School

East Side News

From Sectionals to State: Junior Stella Abarca pursues recognition for poetry

Kady Fairfield-Meneses
Plainfield East High School junior, Stella Abarca, at Sectionals for Speech Team on Feb. 10, as she poses by the “Poetry Reading” sign.

In Plainfield East High School’s (PEHS) history, no student has ever gone to State for the Speech Team. This year, Stella Abarca, a PEHS junior and Speech Team member, progressed to State for poetry.

For the poetry event, one takes multiple poems and combines them into a program that conveys a story. Abarca’s collection of poems covered Alzheimer’s, a topic that resonated with her through the media.

“Most people do popular topics like racial issues, feminism, and women empowerment, so I did Alzheimer’s this year, and I read books, and I watched movies, and it just kind of stood out to me as something really unique I could try to do, and that’s why it had a lot of purpose to me. I don’t really know anyone with Alzheimer’s, so I couldn’t relate in that way, but just through the media, I watched it. I felt like it was something I needed to communicate,” Abarca said.

Speech team is a place to have your voice heard. The speech team coaches work to create an environment for free expression and success.

“My vision for the speech team is that I just want all students to have a space where they feel seen, heard, and celebrated. I want our program to keep growing. We’ve had a historic year. It has been the best year that we have had in my seven years here at Plainfield East High School speech coach, so many wins, so many personal successes. I just want to continue that trend of being successful at East,” said Kady Fairfield-Meneses, Speech Team Head Coach.

In regards to plans of being successful, Speech Team Assistant Coach, Erin Portman, notes that seeing from a coach’s perspective at these competitions allows for inspiration to develop, and expectations to arise.

“As a coach and being from that side of things, we get to see some really good performances and get some inspiration for our team for the future. Also knowing that we are capable of sending people there [State] is, you know, it’s a nice sort of bar for us to set for ourselves going forward,” Portman said.

Abarca parallels this mindset and looks back with no regrets.

“I don’t think I’d really change anything. I think that, at the end of the day, it got me to State, and that’s all I could have really hoped for,” Abarca said.

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About the Contributor
Mia Graske, Editor-in-chief
Hello, my name is Mia, and I am currently a senior. This is my third year on East Side News. I love music and art. I am looking forward to new stories and new opportunities this year.

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