Baldwin High School forensics off to fast start
The Baldwin High School forensics team has barely started its season, but the team is already proving it is out to win this year.
“Right now we have two students who are already qualified for state championships,” said Katherine Cook, forensics team advisor.
Cody Keener is qualified in serious solo acting, and Sammie Weiss is qualified in both humorous solo acting and poetry interpretation.
The payoff comes from preparation and hard work. The competitions for the students take place on Saturdays making for a six-day work week for the students and leaving them little free time one the weekend. Many times the students have to wake up before 5 a.m. to go to a competition and competitions last the full day.
“It is stressful and frustrating, and still they enjoy it,” Cook said. “They enjoy the camaraderie. They enjoy really working to excel at something they can be proud of.”
Cook said being part of team is only one of the many benefits of forensics. Events like prepared speech is a great way to practice speaking skills and other events like acting and oral interpretation provide students an opportunity to perform. Some events are done collaboratively, so students learn to work with a partner rather than just on an individual basis.
“It really does build their confidence and their self esteem,” Cook said.
One of the challenges for the students is the inconsistency of the judging. The judges have different backgrounds in forensics and not all of them are very experienced in judging forensics tournaments.
“It’s hard to know how to please them,” Cook said. “Not all judges like the same thing.”
The team this year consists of mainly juniors and seniors and is smaller than in previous years, but Cook is hoping to attract some more team members for next year.
“This year we’re going to participate in a program at the end of the year so other students can see what they do,” Cook said.
The students also do a lot of the recruiting themselves by bringing in students who they think are talented and they want to work with.
Cook said members of the team tend to be students who are outgoing and really “willing to put themselves out there.”
Baldwin High School hosts two forensics tournaments a year. The next tournament at Baldwin is scheduled for the evening of April 5.