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Episode 19: Brianna Reeves Waddoups Tackles Anxiety & Building Memorable Interpretative Characters

Updated: Oct 23, 2020

Former Torrington competitor, English-teacher-in-training, and good friend Bri Reeves Waddoups shared her fast and furious Speech and Debate experience, her thoughts on how to build a memorable character in interpretative pieces, and her advice for coaches and competitors to help find healthy ways to respond to students suffering baseline or situational anxiety.

Photo: Bri and Zach Bearnson (friend of the podcast) ride the Green Dinosaur into the sunset on the way to the 2015 National Speech and Debate Tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Bri is a Torrington HS Speech and Debate alum, skilled dramatic performer, new parent with her husband Spencer (their little boy, Thomas, is now one and devastatingly cute), and near-graduate from the University of Wyoming. She needs only 21 credits to finish school, at which point she will have an English Lit Degree, a Minor in Religious Studies, an Honors Program Endorsement, and a Teaching Certification for secondary English.

Bri joined the Torrington Speech and Debate team her senior year and proceeded to immediately compete at a high level in five interpretive events. One of those events was a new event to the NSDA National scene - Program Oral Interpretation (POI). Bri's POI that highlighted the dangers of eating disorders won her a bid to the National Tournament. She was the first Nationally Qualifying student I had the honor to coach (big time shout out to Assistant Coach Kelcie Hamilton McBride who was an enormous help during this time), and her success at the District Tournament really transformed the team competitively. We all started to believe we were capable of so much more.

I was lucky to have Bri on the One Clap Podcast to talk about her Speech and Debate experience, her memories of Nationals, her take on building memorable characters in interpretative events, and her experiences with anxiety - along with her advice for students who experience anxiety and for coaches and judges who work with and critique students who experience anxiety.

Thanks so much to Bri for her graciousness and willingness to share her story and ideas. It is so important for coaches to put the health and safety of our student competitors at the forefront of all we do. Student mental health is of paramount importance. It isn’t always easy to talk about these issues, but the more we share our own stories and management strategies, the less stigma is attached to the real mental health struggles of so many others. Thank you again, Bri, for sharing on the One Clap Podcast! I hope to have you back on the show again soon!


Congratulations to all of the Wyoming Speech and Debate students who competed at the National Speech and Debate Tournament Online! We are so proud of you! See the top Wyoming competitor finishes (including National Champion in Prose - Jayden Roccaforte from Cheyenne East) in THIS blog post.


I stand by the NSDA statement on George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. I read the statement in full on this episode of the podcast. It is located HERE.


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