by Brynn Smith ‘19
Following the qualifying tournament in January, the Forensics team was thoroughly prepared for their quarter finals, semi finals, and eventually the finals competition. Finishing behind Walter Johnson and Richard Montgomery, Sherwood claimed third place out of 21 other high schools throughout the county at the nals on February 10 and 11 at Blake.
Forensics is competitive storytelling. Participants choose to write their own material, in a persuasive or informative manner, or they can use a piece of pre-written literature that they found; the decision is up to every individual student. At a forensics competition, a participant reads his or her speech in front of a panel of judges. They are then scored on several factors, including characterization, eye contact, and physicality.
Every day at lunch, the team prepares for competition. “Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse. Read it out as many times as you can, get as comfortable as you can in front of an audience,” advises English teacher and sponsor of the Forensics team, Christopher Goodrich.
“It’s still scary every time because you have a million things running through your mind,” said junior Evan Neufeld. “Am I better than everyone else in the room? Is the judge going to like it? Did I interpret it correctly? It’s nerve-wracking.”
The forensics team currently consists of 21 members, and between 10 and 20 compete in any given tournament. At the close of the season, Sherwood was placed third in the county overall, with four students competing in the finals competition. Only the top six in any given category go to county finals.
Categories include prose, poetry, dramatic interpretation, humorous interpretation, persuasive, and more. Seniors Moriah Heifetz and Catherine White placed in finals for poetry; Juniors Natalie Murray and sophomore Shay Johnson placed in finals for prose.
“Forensics encourages students to think about something they want to tell the world,” said Goodrich. “I love the story telling part of it, I love that students delve so deeply into story telling, guring out the different parts, the different levels of interpretation, and the focus on the creative side within and outside of the text.”
While Goodrich and other members of the team provide feedback, the majority of the ideas come from the students, providing them with the platform to share their beliefs and ideas with hundreds around the county.
“My favorite part about forensics is the really funny and quirky community that’s involved in it. No one is ever afraid to go in front of the room and be weird,” said Catherine White, who is president of the club.