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Forensics programs depend on community support
One thing that sets high school speech and debate programs apart from other competitions like football and volleyball is the extent to which they depend on community volunteers for their success.
In most athletic competitions, players can rest assured that the referees and scorekeepers know the rules of the game and have had at least some minimal level of training in how to do the job. Not so in forensics.
But as Lawrence High School's forensics coach Jeff Plinsky put it this weekend, that too is part of the sport.
"It forces you to learn to communicate with whoever is in the back of the room," he said. "You might have someone who works in the post office your first round, and a professor who works with graduate students in the second round, and in the third round you might have a stay-at-home mom. And you've got to be able to communicate with all three of them, and do so effectively."
Plinsky noted that Lawrence schools are fortunate in their ability to get a lot of support from the community. Having a couple of universities in your back yard certainly helps.
It can seem like a daunting task to sit in judgement of such highly skilled orators and debaters. Most of the competitors are so polished and well-rehearsed, people unfamiliar with the event can easily feel intimidated. What's amazing, though, is that it has a way of rising to the surface. The kids who advance to the finals and bring home the trophies tend to be the ones who can pull off a good performance no matter who the judges are.
So to those who spent a big chunk of their weekend judging at the Lawrence High School tournament this weekend - as well as to those being asked to judge this coming weekend at the Free State High School tournament - rest assured that your time and efforts are appreciated.
Here, now, are the Free State High School results from the LHS tournament:
Congressional Debate Novice House:
Samantha Farb, freshman, second place.
Linda Liu, freshman, fourth place.
Genevieve Prescher, freshman, fifth place.
Congressional Debate Open House:
Carl Palmquist, junior, first place.
Kaitlyn Johnson, sophomore, third place.
Isaac March, sophomore, fifth place.
Solomon Cottrell, sophomore, first place.
Hannah Moran, junior, second place.
Abby Schletzbaum, senior, third place.
Yang Yang Li, junior, fourth place.
Kerrie Leinmiller-Renick, senior, fourth place, informative speaking; fifth place, poetry.
Sarah Lieberman, sophomore, sixth place, original oratory.
Marlee Yost-Wolff, sophomore, fifth place, original oratory.
Linda Liu, freshman, third place, domestic extemporaneous speaking.
Carl Palmquist, junior, first place (state qualifier), impromptu speaking; fourth place, foreign extemporaneous speaking.
Hannah Moran, junior, fifth place, prose; second place (state qualifier), foreign extemporaneous speaking.
Alex Houston, junior, fifth place, impromptu speaking; first place (state qualifier), foreign extemporaneous speaking.
Abby Schletzbaum, senior, fourth place, impromptu speaking.
Ashlyn Evans, senior, sixth place, prose.