Forensics coach plans hard work for new team
Resuming school after winter break isn't just about comparing holiday gifts - it's also the start of new classes. For forensics teacher Ken Church, it's the time to whittle down his three forensics classes into a "leaner, meaner" team.
"The first week they've got to prove to me how serious they are," Church said of the three incoming classes, about 55 students total. "By the end of the week, our numbers are down. I work them a lot harder the first week than I do the rest of the year."
Classes begin Tuesday. After the team is settled, there's not much of a break before the first tournament, traditionally held near the end of January at Turner High School in Kansas City, Kan.
Church has some plans for change this term. He's toying with the idea of putting together a smaller, more versatile team "with kids who are able to do more things, able to speak but also to act and do current events, so they're well-rounded and have a good background in different things."
There are two main options for competition in forensics: interpretation and speaking. In interpretation, students can perform prose or poetry, dramatic or humorous scenes, duo interpretation or duet acting. In speaking, students can choose from extemporaneous speaking, informative or persuasive.
Christine Southard, an LHS senior and one of this year's forensics team captains, was a state forensics competition champion in informative speaking.
Though Southard is the only returning team member who placed at state, Church said he thought his team would excel if the members diversify their talents.
"Students are going to have more versatility," Church said. "Of the events in forensics, no kid can do them all, but what I'm going to ask is for them to, rather than just sticking in one area, prove to me that they can do some other things."
Church said there would probably be 13 seniors on the team, a group he said he'd been looking forward to working with.
"They are very unselfish, very honest," Church said. "They don't play games."
He added that, as seniors, they also had the right to give a talk the first day of classes.
"And they get to sit in the back of the room. And get on and off the bus first. I think that's why some of them come back for so many years," Church laughed.
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