Frequently Asked Questions
- When do we meet?
Forensics practices are held every day after school. During non-pandemic times, we meet in Room 106 (Mr. Byko’s room). Practices can last up to 5 p.m. During pandemic times, we will be utilizing Blackboard (see How to Join Forensics in a Pandemic).
- What if I don’t know how to debate/give speeches/perform prose-poetry-duo etc. presentations?
Prior knowledge on any event isn’t necessary to join or compete. Coaches and team members are more than happy to introduce new teammates to the events and what’s involved with each. The team also provides cuttings (prose-poetry-duo-humorous/dramatic pieces) and debate information for students to review.
- How many tournaments do I have to attend?
To be official team members, students need to attend at least three tournaments.
- What events are available?
Debate categories include: Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum, Parliamentary, and Student Congress.
Speech categories include: Prose; Poetry; Duo; Humorous Interpretation; Dramatic Interpretation; Extemporaneous Speaking; Original Oratory; Impromptu.
- When are tournaments?
We compete in anywhere from 10 to 14 tournaments each season. Tournaments are held on Saturdays and generally run all day. During non-pandemic years when we travel to tournaments, the average time we leave on our bus is 7 a.m. The schedule will be different for this year and will be communicated before each tournament. Tournaments during the pandemic will be held virtually on Saturdays.
- Will transportation be provided?
The forensics team does provide bus transportation to competitions during non-pandemic seasons.
- How will Forensics work online?
Tournaments still will take place on Saturdays; however, only those competing in Debate events and Extemporaneous Speaking or Impromptu Speaking will need to be ready to participate the day of the competition. Events held the day of the competition will operate much like a Zoom meeting, with competitors in the session along with a judge. The debate will take place live and virtually. Extemp and Impromptu speeches will be delivered live to a judge in a similar Zoom meeting room.
Speech events (prose, poetry, etc.) will operate differently. Before a competition speech competitors must record their presentations, which then will be submitted to the tournament. The competitors’ recordings will be placed in various Zoom rooms throughout the day with a different judge evaluating their presentation against about 7 other people’s recordings in the room.
Also, see How to Join Forensics in a Pandemic.
- What type of time commitment is necessary?
Forensics allows you to set your own schedule. You can put in as much time as you would like. To compete at a tournament, students need to attend practices for at least a couple of weeks before that tournament; however, that does not mean team members have to attend every practice during the week, just those that fit into their schedules. Team members also do not have to compete at every tournament on the schedule, just those they can attend.
- Am I allowed to try out different categories before picking one?
You can try as many different events as you would like. Most team members, once they have found an event, generally stick with it if they like it. Also, once you have found a poetry, prose, etc. cutting/piece, most team members perform that same piece throughout the year, perfecting it more and more as the season continues. Debate topics change either monthly or every other month, depending on the type of debate.
- What is the partner-choosing process like?
Two Debate categories and the Duo interpretation category involve two people. Many times two people come to practices already ready to be paired up. Sometimes we can pair people up who are in need of a partner if they can’t find one on their own.
- How does a tournament work?
During a normal, non-pandemic year tournaments work this way:
Everyone usually has three to four rounds of competition in speech events and four to five rounds of competition in debate events.
Competitors are organized into different rooms for each round, competing against different people from different schools. A different judge evaluates the competitors in each round, ranking them from 1 to 6 or 7 in speech events and declaring a winner and loser in debate events.
Most tournaments offer awards at the end of the day to at least the top three competitors in each event.
During a pandemic, only Debate, Extemporaneous Speaking, and Impromptu Speaking events need to attend tournaments live, albeit virtual. They will be organized into Zoom-type rooms where they will debate or present their Extemp or Impromptu speeches. All Speech event competitors will need to record their best performance, which will then be submitted for the tournament, organized, and judged much like a non-pandemic tournament.
There still might be awards, but how they will be distributed needs to be worked out.