Fluorescent lighting shines in their faces as the forensics students stare out into a crowd of people in an unfamiliar school and they clear their throat to begin speaking.
When some people think of forensics, they think of scientific tests instead of debates. Senior Sara Radford, a member of the forensics team, knows exactly what it is and how it benefits people.
“When people hear [forensics], they often think of detective work, but instead forensics is public speaking and learning how to make your words as impactful as possible,” Radford said.
Beth Andersen, the head of the forensics club, is hopeful that her students’ nerves will melt away while practicing due to the fact that they can cooperate well together.
In addition, Andersen wants to ensure her students are as ready as possible for the upcoming competition.
“Preparing for a competition includes practicing the presentation, being in front of an audience, and getting some critique from me and their peers,” Andersen said.
Radford practices these techniques in the category of poetry, although there are numerous other categories.
“There’s humorous duos, dramatic duos, dramatic interpretation, poetry, and serious interpretation. There’s even one where there’s a current event and people debate based on different political articles,” Radford said.
Each of the categories is difficult in its own way. Senior Ian Brenzie is also a poetry competitor and knows the arduous aspects of it.
“You have to read something somebody else wrote and interpret that. If the judge doesn’t agree with your interpretation or doesn’t like the way that you read it, then that can really impact how they score you,” Brenzie said.
Radford overcomes the difficulties by rehearsing and reaching out to her teachers for constructive criticism.
“For me, I’ll be by myself and I’ll read through my poem and act it out. I’ll also practice in front of Ms. Andersen and Senora Jones and they’ll critique me,” Radford said.
Brenzie knows precisely how he prepares for competitions to make sure that he does well.
“It’s mostly just repetition, reading your poems over and over again. That’s the main thing: really being able to read it again the same way every time because consistency is important,” Brenzie said.
On February 15th the forensics team will travel to Cosby High School to participate in a forensics competition. Winning takes hard work and practice, but Brenzie’s effort has paid off in previous tournaments so far.
“I won first place in my first and most recent competition in my division. [It felt] really good. I don’t normally win a lot of stuff and seeing people congratulate me and seeing people call my name in the hallway is a lot,” Brenzie said.
Radford also dedicated time to prepare, and it provided her with a learning experience in addition to a second place finish.
“Earning second place for my very first competition felt nice because I felt like I worked hard and got something from it. It was also nice that I didn’t get first because there was still more I could improve on and ways to see how I can get better,” Radford said.
Although forensics takes a lot of commitment, Radford believes the anticipated benefits of joining the club are worth the extra effort.
“I decided to join forensics because I wanted to become better at public speaking and I thought it would challenge me to act and to be vulnerable with a crowd,” Radford said.