Sweeping the competition

Middle school forensics dominates competition on Jan. 21


Photo: Merryn Ruthling

Sixth grade students Mariah Nellessen and Bailey Curran perform their Duet Acting piece. The middle school forensics team won six awards at their last competition.

Standing in front of a group of judges and competing in events including Poetry, Duet Acting, Prose and Audition Monologue might seem daunting to the average student, but this is exactly what the small St. George’s middle school forensics team did on Saturday, Jan. 21.

Overall, there were 73 entries from six different school that entered the forensics competition. While this was only the second tournament for five of the six St. George’s participants, fear of performing did not deter them, and they ended the tournament with five trophies and a medal.

English teacher Mr. Patrick McGraw, who began the St. George’s forensics program fourteen years ago, is very proud of his student’s accomplishments.

I believe that every student, whether he or she wins a ribbon, a medal, or a trophy, is a winner just by competing,” Mr. McGraw said. “Our students do well on college interviews, on job interviews and on business presentations. I am proud of each and every student who has passed through our program over the last 14 years.”

Mr. McGraw, along with forensics sponsor Mrs. Sue Berry, meet with their students every Tuesday and Thursday to practice skills common to every performance, including enunciation, vocal inflection, facial expressions and gestures. Mrs. Berry believes that there is a lot to be learned from forensics.

“Forensics is about becoming better, more confident speakers and being able to add drama and interest to pieces of literature to entertain and enthrall an audience,” Mrs. Berry said. “At the high school level, there are even possibilities to write original speeches and learn about TV Broadcasting.”

Students also believe that forensics is a great opportunity. Sixth grader Stella Hancock participates in the Forensics program because of the friendly environment, fun and opportunities. 

“I personally loved performing with another person because you can share the nerves with them and you can trust the other person if you do something wrong,” Hancock said.

Hancock recited a collection of love poems, performed “Stowaways” by Ken Bradbury in the Duet Acting Category and won a first place trophy.

Ella Curran was Hancock’s partner in “Stowaways” and also performed “Double Trouble.” Hancock is enthusiastic about the program.

“I am definitely planning on doing forensics again,” Curran said. “It was a really fun after school program, and they bring candy. Mr. McGraw and Mrs. Berry are really kind and encourage us to do your best. Without them, none of us would have gotten awards or trophies.”

Mrs. Berry hopes that the Forensics program will continue to grow and be successful in the future.

“I think the group we have now has tons of potential plus we are having a great time finding out  what fun it can be to entertain and inform others,” Mrs. Berry said.