This year’s Speakers’ Forum finals took place on Friday, April 20. Sophomore Remy Mccoy was chosen as the winner by a panel of adult judges and Forensic Union officer senior Rob Downes.
Speakers’ Forum is an annual interpretive and dramatic reading event in which all sophomores participate. Each student chooses a published fiction piece that can be read within the time constraints of 3:30 and 6:30 minutes. The pieces are first read in the classroom, and the top two speakers with the highest peer review scores proceed.
These speakers move on to the semifinals, and the top five speakers from the semifinals, who are assessed and chosen by a panel of judges consisting of teachers and Forensic Union officers, move on to finals. Finals take place in Roberts Theater in front of the entire school and results are announced just after all the readings have finished.
When asked about how she felt about Speakers’ Forum, sophomore Alma Clark said that she was never stressed about it. “Speakers’ Forum is an integral part of the sophomore curriculum and it’s a great opportunity for students to express themselves and creatively work on a piece,” she said, “and even if you’re an awful actor or public speaker, you can still have fun.”
Sophomore and semifinalist Maggie Eberle agreed that it is an important part of the year, but she said that it was much more serious for her.
“I’ve been looking forward to Speakers’ Forum since seventh grade when we came to watch the finalists at assembly. As someone who loves to act and sing and perform, this is really exciting for me. I’ve worked really, really hard,” she said.
When it came to choosing a piece, many sophomores had different approaches and struggles. Alma said it was fairly straightforward for her. “I’ve chosen the piece ‘Gifted’ by Simon Rich. I chose it by picking it up from the table during English class, and the first story was funny so I chose it. It’s really about finding a book that you would want to read because the chances are that you will read it well,” she said.
When asked whether she would take part in Speakers’ Forum if it was optional, Alma said she wouldn’t. “I’m just not very good at signing up for things,” Alma said.
Maggie said the process was much longer and more complicated for her. “I began looking for pieces before March break, and I went through all the resources my teachers gave me, but nothing really stuck with me. So then, I decided to get inspiration from what I always get inspiration from, which is musicals. I found this perfect musical called ‘Dear Evan Hansen,’ but since it was a musical I couldn’t do it. That inspired me to look for books like that though, and I finally found one that I liked,” she said.
Maggie said she definitely would do Speakers’ Forum if it was optional, as it has been one of the highlights of her year.
Alma, Maggie and the other sophomores said they thought their classroom rounds went well and said they liked the way the different rounds were arranged. Sophomore Julia Kanaan said she wasn’t as pleased with her performance as she wanted to be, but that she tried her hardest.
The finalists included sophomores Remy McCoy, Maggie Eberle, Niko Rodriguez, Angelina Maselli and Cai Kuivila.
Remy won the competition, Maggie came in second, and sophomore Niko Rodriguez came in third.
Remy’s intense, dramatic piece from the novel “Out of My Mind” by Sharon Draper, was from the point of view of a young girl with cerebral palsy, unable to communicate during a harrowing family emergency.