On April 11, the Wisconsin Forensic Coaches’ Association (WFCA) will conclude an eventful season with a state tournament.
The WFCA is one of two forensics leagues in the state, offering competitions in 19 categories including poetry, impromptu speech, storytelling, and group interpretation. Each category has its own set of rules and criteria for ranking, but all boast powerfully moving speakers.
Angelina Cicero, head forensics coach at Homestead High School in Wisconsin for the past four years told JSR, “Forensics [proves] that the artfulness of language can manifest itself orally in a way that it cannot manifest itself on the page.”
Last year, over 1,000 students from 72 different schools assembled to compete in the state final. The event marks the culmination of a season that can last up to five months for some teams. The weekend is also the ultimate climax in the strengthening of bonds and friendships that harken back to November.
Said Cicero, “When we go to state we rent a house and we all stay in the house. The night before our competition we all gather in the living room. People perform for each other and we play silly games. We eat together and laugh. I think the camaraderie is really, really fun and I enjoy that.”
She continued, “Forensics is a great example of something that [provides] that team experience – you’re still competing individually but you’re still a part of a team.”
For many of these students, their journey with forensics has spanned easily over half a decade. Participants praise forensics for the plethora of skills it has taught them.
Grishma Reddy, a Homestead senior and an accomplished state qualifying veteran, told JSR, “Forensics is something that challenges me, and I am in love with it.”
She continued to reflect that, “I’ve definitely seen this transformation from a timid middle schooler to a confident high school student who is more engaged and involved in classroom discussions and learning.”
Another senior, Alessandra Gouverneur, noted, “It’s taught me about discipline, peer-to-peer communication, the art of poetry, and how to both give and take criticism.”
When asked to describe forensics in one word, both Reddy and Gouverneur picked the same word: “inspirational.”
Gouverneur explained, “Forensics inspires me daily. Every forensics meet, I leave with something new I hadn’t known, thought about, or seen expressed.”