For the fifth time since 2000, Nevada High School will be a host site for a state speech competition.

The school, utilizing both the high school and connected middle school building, will host the Southwest State Individual Speech Contest on Saturday, March 10.

To host, the school relies heavily on volunteers — at least 150 to be exact. Nevada High School teacher Dr. Heather Ludwig, who, along with her husband Robert, is an individual speech coach and contest manager, breaks down what 150 volunteers will help do during that day:

• 46 room chairs — responsible for one room and announcing the next contestant. Also may involve crowd control (“hushing”) in the hallways

• 46 timers — responsible for timing contestants, displaying time cards and saying “Stop”

• 40 concession workers to operate two concession stands during the day

• four judges’ lunch volunteers to prepare and serve lunch to the judges

• two judges’ breakfast volunteers to prepare and serve breakfast to the judges

• four runners — responsible for posting contest results in the commons from the main office and running other errands

• two lunch preparers and servers

• bakers — anyone in the community willing to make bars or cookies or other meal items for the judges’ meals or to be sold with concession stand meals

There are generally two shifts during the 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. time frame for these volunteer positions, so that no one is being asked to give up an entire day. The volunteers are an important part of what has made Nevada a great host site in the past.

“We are known for our hospitality and kindness…Our reputation comes from our wonderful volunteers, speech students and parents,” Heather said.

She, her husband and the school’s large group speech coaches, Libby Ehrig and Kim Hanna, are also busy with the work that comes before the day of hosting.

In addition to lining up volunteers, there is a lot of preparation work to get ready for the 700-plus students who will perform around 1,000 entries on the day of contests.

Heather outlines the tasks: schedule the 1,000 entries for the day and hire 70 judges; create packets with tests, rules, etc. for the judges; create packets for the room chairs and timers; set up the rooms; prepare concession stands to feed over 1,000 people; organize and prepare meals for the 100-plus workers; prepare tabulation room to record and finalize scores and comment sheets; prepare to welcome and direct 110 schools from southwest Iowa; get centerpieces, table cloths and supplies for three meals, along with snack cart supplies for the judges and workers; organize and find all the workers; create a website for the schools; organize the room and office for where the schools will check in and out for the day; prepare coffee and continental breakfast for the volunteers and set up a bus drivers’ lounge.

For area residents who feel that they can volunteer with any of the work needing to be done, please contact Heather at the school: 515-382-3521 or You can also go to to sign up, as many individuals have already done.

Residents are also invited to attend the speech competition that day as spectators. A $3 admission is suggested at the door.