Weaver said he will be attending college in either Los Angeles or Oregon, as he awaits acceptance letters from the last few schools he applied to.
“What makes him different is he works at his craft,” said Nancy Nixon, Ouray/Ridgway Combined Speech Coach, “he is almost artistic about his presentation, contemplating each effect. Jess is sensitive and has a compassionate heart, yet he runs and plays guitar with a vengeance. This is his first year to try drama. He had done humor and duo before but wanted to try his hand in this event for his senior year.”
Weaver said he has competed in speech tournaments since middle school and has won several district competitions over the years. This was his first time to finish in the top three at the state level, where it doesn’t matter how big a student's school is. In the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA), speech combines all sizes of schools together in one 1A-5A competition. This year the event hosted 78 schools from across the state.
“In drama, there first was a cut to top 12 (semi-finals) and then to top six (finals). Jess was magnificent! The scores were cumulative throughout the meet and he just got better,” said Nixon in an email.
Weaver will be attending the National Qualifying Meet this weekend in Grand Junction where he will perform "The Tricky Part," from a play written by Martin Moran. Weaver performs the monologue of “a super Catholic kid that was molested by Bob, his camp counselor. He writes a letter to Bob when he is older. The whole thing is about the psychology of this kid working though the experience,” said Weaver who has been performing the same piece since October.
The Ouray County Speech Team took six students to State this year in addition to Weaver: Daniel Degenhardt from Ouray High School, Stefanie Esposito, Halli Benasutti, Jasper Mandaville and Alex Peters from RHS.
Weaver will be competing at the National Qualifiers this weekend with team members Mandaville, Degenhardt and Peters, and Kia James of OHS.
Nixon is the head coach and Sue Lorimer (also the Ouray Middle School coach) is the assistant coach. This is the fourth non-consecutive year that Nixon has coached the combined speech team, which is known across the Western Slope as “OC” (Ouray County). Nixon has coached speech for 29 years in Ouray.
STUDENT WINS BIG
By Caleb Stento
Ouray High School student Joe Noll was rewarded for some good old fashioned hard work — authoring an essay that won first place in a statewide contest for high school students affected with Down syndrome. Noll’s first place winnings include an iPod for himself and a sizable contribution to the classroom in the amount of $1500.
The contest was sponsored by the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome and celebrates World Down Syndrome Day. According to the Crnic Institute website, this day “creates a global voice and advocates for the rights, inclusion and well-being of people with Down syndrome.”
Noll’s teacher, Barbara Vickers, explained how much effort he put into the essay and how well he does in school.
“He did a great job and really put it together himself,” Vickers said. “It’s not easy, but whatever is expected of him (in school) he gets done.”
Noll related how the dance team at school is important to him and is his favorite pastime. “It’s fun,” Noll exclaimed from behind a big grin. However, Noll’s days aren’t filled solely with school and pastimes. He holds two jobs in Ouray as part of a work-study program.
Sitting down with Noll and Vickers was a pleasure. We discussed aspects of Noll’s life, including favorite and least favorite school subjects (English and Science, respectively), musical tastes (everything), TV shows (Glee) and his goal to someday “go away” from Ouray. Instead of an outsider relaying these specifics, let’s hear it directly from Noll. Following is his essay entitled “How is my life just like yours?”
“Hello, My name is Joe Noll. I live in a beautiful town in Southwestern Colorado called Ouray. I am 17 and I am a junior at the Ouray School. Here are some things about me that I would like to share with everyone.
--Born in 1994
--1998 in preschool
--1999 kindergarten until 5th grade Montrose
--I moved to Ouray in 6th grade
--School trip to Denver with my family we went to tea place and aquarium
I practice piano with my sister and my brother. He would like the song of Ode to Joy. It would be nice to play the song for family.
I have two jobs in Ouray. One for Painting Marmot art supply store, one for the Visitor’s Center.
I like to read at school or home work any also I like dance, movies, and my laptop. I also like girls. I love poems that are nice or sad and happy thoughts.
My favorite movie was Titanic because I like when Jack and Rose are kissing. It was an interesting, intense, love story my favorite book was Twilight.
I have been dance team at Ouray high school and I have danced with Weehawken dance for six years. I love the dance team because we have an amazing routine. Acting and dancing is easy for me.
I enjoy babysitting with boys and girls. I feed them and play with them. I am going to be a new uncle this spring. I will be a good uncle. I will care about the baby, when my brother and his wife have their baby.
I know I am important. I am responsible for organizing my art supplies. I am responsible for being a good uncle. I am responsible for my family and my friends. I am responsible in dance, at my job at school, and at home.
I do the same things that people without Down syndrome can do:
--I enjoy boy scouts with other friends in Montrose.
--I know how to communicate with friends to make plans together. It would be fun to go on a vacation sometime.
--Every day I eat some dinner, and after that I take a shower and read my book in bed and sleep and have a great dream about moving away.
Thank you for letting me share a little bit about myself with you.”