Speech Team Accomplishments

Lauren Mitchell, Reporter

Here at Woodland Park High School, the Forensics team takes pride in their accomplishments. At every tournament they have placed at least one person in a final round and/or placed a debater on stage. This team is highly competitive, motivated and engaged. They spend every weekend traveling around Southern Colorado, and all week preparing cases, refining drama, duo and oratory pieces while printing research for extemporaneous speaking rounds.

On February 19th and 20th the team competed in the Regional Tournament at Discovery Canon Campus. Every debater was given four rounds, and if they win at least three, they would qualify for state. Alex Vela and Lauren Mitchell did qualify in Lincoln Douglas Debate, this means that they found philosophical arguments to defend both the affirmative and negative side of their topic-“In the United States, private ownership of handguns ought to be banned.” The interpretation competitors had three rounds, and if they were in the top 5 or 6 by the end of the day, they made state.  Cassidy Allen and Zac Melton were alternates; they could go if one of the other duo teams was not able. Amanda Roth, Ashlin Hurt and Cheyenne Brown qualified in Poetry. Olivia Ostendorf qualified in Drama Interpretation with Citlally Davila, who won the honor of District Champion in her event. The Colorado Speech and Debate Tournament will happen on March 18th and 19th in Fort Collins. On Friday March 11th they we’re pleased to get a part of a school assembly where they were recognized for their qualifications.

The first weekend of March is always filled with avid anticipation by the forensics team. The biggest competition of the year is the National Qualifiers, which was hosted by Pine Creek High School. If students are placed in the very top two of their event, they get to compete in the nation-wide tournament in Salt Lake City during June. Each competitor is promised two rounds, and competes until they either lose two debates or are placed in the second half of the group they were competing against. They can compete as late as 10:30pm, and on Friday the tabulation room pressed the last debate rounds at 9:45pm, and competition promptly started again at 8am the next morning. These vigorous and determined students give all of their energy in attempts to qualify for nationals. By Saturday night the team knew that they were sending Sage Brown, who received first place, and Lauren Mitchell, who will be competing in a team debate to nationals. Alex Vela and Amanda Roth still have an opportunity, seeing that they are both first qualifiers in their events. The team was particularly pleased with the fact that one of their novice competitors, Cheyenne Brown, made it to the final round with her Program Oral Interpretation Speech, a memorized piece that is acted out and includes two poems and a section of prose. The weekend turned out very successful, and the Speech and Debate Team will be sending students for the 26th year in a row.

Forensics is the art of storytelling, and in a society where most people consider “forensics” to include dead bodies, it is the job of the team to use there communication skills to show that they are indeed far more than what is initially noticed. This group of honor students proves themselves time and time again, they love what they do, and as Coach Bill Brown says, “Public speaking is one of the most common phobias, and we do it for fun!”