Forensics team showcases talents in educational performance


Courtesy of Kaitlyn Phillips

Members of the forensics team prepare with Mr. Wilbur (pictured left), coach and social studies teacher, for their events at a competition at Naperville Central High School on Sunday, Dec. 12.

Throughout all periods on Monday, Feb. 19, members of the forensics team will be putting on a showcase in the auditorium for their peers and teachers to see what goes into being a part of the competitive speech team. The original date for these performances had been scheduled for Friday, Feb. 9, but due to the snow day, Mr. Paul Woods, forensics coach, rescheduled them to the make up snow day on President’s Day. 

The annual showcase serves as a practice opportunity for the 21 students who qualified for the Sectional competition on Saturday, Feb. 10, which ultimately decides if the team will continue to the IHSA State Championship.

In order to prepare for the competitions and the showcase, the forensics team has practiced every day after school since the beginning of their competition season in October with rehearsals and constructive criticism from their peers and their coaches. Though, the showcase may also be seen as an educational opportunity for attendees.

Courtesy of Emily Goggin
Of the 70 Forensics team members, 21 of them qualified to compete at Sectionals on Saturday, Feb. 10. 

“Students are able to see the hard work that we have put in all year to make our speeches as good as possible, and it gives them a great opportunity for them to learn more about public speaking,” said Charlie Carter, junior forensics member.

In the past, it has been mainly English and social studies classes who attend the showcase because of the speech lessons that can be gained from the performances and the social issues that are discussed.

“All of my classes at some point this semester are going to be doing some sort of speech assignment, and I think that forensics showcases how, with a little practice, we can all seem really polished and comfortable speaking, and I think that’s much more valuable for students to see rather than me just showing them models of speeches,” said Mrs. Stephanie Hiffman, English teacher.

The English and social studies students who do attend the showcase can expect to see their peers perform a variety of “events”, or acts, at the showcase. Each period will see about five events, which are chosen from 14 different events that the team has been preparing.

These events range from prepared humorous duets to spontaneous acts that students prepare just two minutes before going out to perform. Whereas most events will be performed two to three times on Friday, one event that will be shown each period is the Performance in the Round, more commonly known as PIR.  

At the IHSA state speech competition in 2014, members of forensics won first place in Humorous Duet, which is an event that students will be able to see performed at Friday’s showcase. Courtesy of YouTube user Juan Avila.

The PIR will be performed each period this year because of the especially compelling nature and structure of the piece, as well as its current and serious subject matter of gender inequality and the #MeToo movement.

The PIR is often a longer piece, clocking in at about 15 minutes, and unlike other events, it’s performed within a circle of judges. Also, although most of the PIRs normally have 12 members performing, due to the topic of this PIR, there will only be seven girls and two boys.

“I think the PIR this year is really powerful, and I think the message that we deliver in it is one that everyone should hear,” said Tess Klygis, sophomore forensics member. “Every group that we have performed it for has been impacted in some way, and at Regionals, one of our judges was even visibly emotional because of it.”

Although only an annual event, the forensics showcase is commonly regarded as a favorite among peers and teachers, and its popularity has risen in the past 15 years that it’s been performed.

“I’m really proud of the team and the showcase because in the past, only about one or two English classes would come, but now as the team has become more competitive and accomplished, we perform for eight to ten classes each period,” Mr. Woods said. 

After having performed well at Sectionals, the team will travel to State to compete on Friday, Feb. 16.