The 17-member Pratt High School Forensics Team had a good showing at State Forensics in Topeka Saturday with junior Chloe Cannata capturing a third place finish in original oration for “The Boy I Lost” and junior Zach Stone earned a fourth place finish in informative speaking for “Drums Across the World.”
Sophomore Miranda Flemming broke into semi finals with her informative speech on “A Musical Family,” a history of the clarinet. Flemming placed eighth overall, missing finals by two places.
For each of these team members, it was the first time any of them had broken into semi finals and finals at state.
The team also sent 19 members to State Festival in Wichita scoring seven “I” ratings.
Forensics Coach Rose Beilman had tough decisions to make on who would get to go to State Champs. The 48-member team had 33 events that qualified for state but Kansas State High School Activities Association limits each team to just 16 events, Beilman said.
It came down to the number of times they qualified and the number of times they reached finals.
Beilman said this team was an interesting mix and fun to watch how the students fit together. It worked well and the team was very successful at getting into finals even though she had to push some students to get them in certain events.
She finally talked Stone into performing and he started working on his project on his own back in October 2013.
Cannata did well at Festival in 2013 and she worked hard, redoing her speech several times before getting to state. She wanted it close to perfection and was willing to do the work.
For those the made it to state but didn’t make it into semi finals, it was a disappointment but those students should still be proud because it was a very hard tournament.
Cannata’s oration was dealing with death and a personal loss in her life. She said grief is a part of life and people need to learn how to manage it in a healthy way.
“I hope I can help people with my speech,” Cannata said.
This was her second year in forensics and she intends to come back next year with another original oration.
Her biggest challenge with this speech was dealing with nerves at the state level.
The best thing she got out of the competition was an “awesome” experience and getting to meet all the great performers at state.
She was very grateful for Beilman’s support and all the extra time she took after class and in the evening to help her prepare for state.
Stone is in his second year in forensics and will definitely be coming back for the 2015 season. He chose to focus on informative this year because Beilman encouraged him (pushed actually) for a long time because she thought he would do well.
She boosted his confidence along the way and Stone was pleased with the outcome.
“I’m glad I did it.” he said.
Stone is a drummer in the high school band. He said drums were his life.
“A drum is not just something you beat with a stick,” Stone said.
He enjoyed learning about the history of drums and the stories of some recent drummers like Rick Allen, a one armed drummer for Def Leopard.
Stone said coming up with a professional sounding speech was his biggest challenge for the competition while team building and all the support he got from Beilman, the team and his parents were his favorite elements along with one more supporter.
This was Flemming’s second year in Forensics and her second trip to state. She did well as a freshman and it was a positive experience for her so she will participate again in 2015 focusing on oration, informative, serious and humorous.
Her selection this year was based on her love of the clarinet, an instrument she plays in the PHS band. A band trip to Kansas State University was her inspiration to do the informative.
Her biggest challenge for state was finding material and memorization. She enjoyed performing the speech about her favorite instrument and being with the crazy bunch of forensics people.
The 19 students that participated at State Forensics Festival in Wichita also did very well with seven students accumulating “I” ratings.
The future looks good for forensics with 48 students signed up for 2015 including a big group of returning juniors.