Forensics season off to a good start with two wins in practice competition


Mackenzie Bernas

By Mackenzie Bernas

Sophomore Rafael Alfonso won second place in prose reading with his retelling of the battle of wits between Vizzini and the man in black from the Princess Bride and junior Rohan Rathi won second place in extemporaneous speaking by answering questions involving Donald Trump, Yemen, and space for the Forensics Club in a practice competition a couple weeks ago. There were three rounds scored by different judges during the competition. Forensics has specific categories like the previously mentioned prose reading and extemporaneous speaking that participants choose for their own speeches.

“It’s kind of a mixture of public speaking and debate in a way. There are different categories we focus on,” said English teacher Kathryn Armstrong, who is on her second year of sponsoring Forensics.  

“It’s public speaking based on two broad categories. One where you interpret other people’s pieces and another where you make your own, and so this was a competition to test how good we were at our own respective categories. I was in extemporaneous speaking which means I had 30 minutes to prepare and seven minutes to speak on a certain political or cultural topic,” said junior Rathi.

Extemporaneous speaking participants are asked a question on a current event during each of the three rounds with 30 minutes to prepare an answer.

“My first question was on Donald Trump, specifically Paul Manafort aligned to Robert Muller,” said Rathi. “It’s like this sort of tiny thing that never really mattered to anyone and I was supposed to talk about it, and then I had something about a conflict in Yemen, and then I had another one on space actually, private moon landings basically, getting [for instance] Elon Musk to fund the moon landing instead of NASA, and so these are like tiny things that are like tiny blips in the news that you really got to look out for, and so in preparation I had to read current events, make sure I knew everything about everything that was going on which is very hard.”

“You can’t use the internet so you have to bring in sources so everyone comes in with big like we’re talking huge boxes that are maybe three feet wide and one foot long or something, and then they just stack magazines in there. So I did the same,” said Rathi.

Alfonso, in prose reading, took his piece from the Princess Bride.

“Doing the Princess Bride was a lot of fun because I got to do a lot of voices, and since it has such a positive memory for me, it reminded me of that while I did it the whole time,” said Alfonso. “I wanted to make everyone in the room not want to cry all the time, and laugh, and I think I did that for the most part.”

“Nerves used to be a really big problem for me a couple years ago, and I would speed up, and then they wouldn’t be able to understand my words so for me, how I got over that, is I kind of stopped caring, and I recognized that my purpose personally was to entertain,” said Alfonso. “As long as my piece was entertaining, If I won great. If I was entertaining enough, I should win. That’s how I see it I guess, and what I’ll do is when I get up there, I’ll always close my eyes, and take a breath and then I’ll start my introduction.”

The members are looking towards the next competition and are preparing for their own categories. While Rathi is preparing by adding to his knowledge of current events, Alfonso mentions his goal of creating more distinguishing voices for the competition.

“Since Vizzini is Sicilian, I’m going to Google how to speak with a Sicilian accent, because last year there was one girl at regionals who did a Rwandan accent, and she was not Rwandan at all, and so she won.  It was amazing,” said Alfonso.