Margaret Silhasek did some quick thinking and speaking when her computer crashed during the section speech finals April 5. Despite the glitch, the Byron senior still qualified for this weekend's state tournament and said she will bring a backup computer just in case. Photo by David Richards
By David Richards
For the first three rounds of the Section 1A speech tournament at Byron High School April 5, Margaret Silhasek's laptop held up.
Performing in the category of informative speaking, the Byron senior spoke in depth about Brain Machine Interface, the technology where electrodes are implanted on the surface of the brain and send signals to an external device.
As do most students in her category, Silhasek had illustrations to drive her message home, with hers coming in the form of a power-point presentation on her computer.
"They're technically optional," said Byron head speech coach Pamela Tvedt. "But they're common."
During the finals, however, with a trip to state on the line for three of the six presenters, Silhasek's computer froze, leaving all of the visuals for her work unavailable.
"It was my senior year, so I wanted to go out and give a speech I could be proud of," Silhasek said.
Having been dealt a serving of lemons, the Byron student, who could have given up, instead delivered a healthy serving of lemonade in the form of a presentation that was heavy on the speaking and light on the visuals.
"She is a very classy young woman," Tvedt said. "She can rise to the occasion, maybe even more than she might have guessed."
The end result?
Silhasek won the whole thing, placing first at the tournament in her category and earning a return trip to state.
"When I was done, I did not think I had made it to state," she said. "But I had a little bit of hope."