The SEA Forensics event looms in the near future. Teams are urgently drilling themselves in order to prepare for the competition. Speakers anxiously go over flashcards, notes, and techniques that will hopefully help them on February 18th. While there are returning speakers, there is also an abundance of new ones, those who have never spoken in a competition. Stakes are high for SEA because not only is this event one in which all speakers want to do well in, but it also serves as the last round of cuts before IASAS. The amount of participants vary for the individual events but for the most part (Impromptu, Original Oratory, Extemporaneous and Oral Interpretation) they can only take three students. While the events are very different they are all speaking events that require extensive training and skill.
Impromptu is one of the most challenging events. In terms of workload before the competition it is not very arduous. However it is the riskiest of the forensics events. It requires quick thinking as the speakers are given a single minute to prepare for their speech. After they have thought over a phrase or a word they are then required to make a five minute speech. The maximum time they can take is five minutes and ten seconds. This is no simple feat for the students because they must constantly be thinking as they are speaking about their next point. The speeches can take many different forms including personal anecdotes all the way to historical timelines. Kris J., a 10th grader, has been on the team for two years and still finds it very difficult. “These days I feel anxious from the night before I will spend about twenty minutes speculating what I am going to say for impromptu.” While this does not require a written out speech it is still draining as the competitors spend a lot of their time thinking about possible topics. They also spend their lunchtimes rehearsing by practicing speeches and looking at topics that likely to appear in the event. “The thought of going up there and not being able to say something intelligent” this is a fear shared by many of the impromptu speakers, Kris’ experience in this event does not change the fact that it is very challenging.
Debate is also one of the most competitive events. The students have to learn the ins and outs of the process in order to run the most effective teams. This is the single event that relies on the team instead of the individual. The students have to embark in a competition of three days for SEA: two days of preliminary rounds and a final day of semi-finals and finals. It is very competitive but ISKL has placed very well in the past years and have their eyes set on gold. Senior Sonja E.has competed in this event for four years and has proven to have a knack for debate. “I’ve been in two finals and will hopefully be in this year’s.” There are ambitious goals for this year’s speaking event. She goes on to describe how KTJ is a school to keep an eye on for they “always seem to win”. Despite the competitive atmosphere of the event Sonja loves it because “we’re all good friends. I think the best part is seeing new and old faces who each have the same mutual love for debate.” While SEA is a chance to come out a victor with a title, it is also a chance to meet people who share the same interest in debate or any speaking event for that matter.
Extemp is a very unique event. The way it works is that the competitors are given a question about current affairs. They are then given half an hour to prepare a seven minute response. In preparation students read news articles and try to stay as sharp as possible. They have to be prepared for the half an hour of prep time and ready for any question. Gloria L., a senior, is in the event and preparing for the competition. “I’m looking forward to SEA and I’m just trying to prepare as much as I can by reading up on the news, and hopefully I have an understanding of all the topics asked about” There is really not much to be done other than trying to stay on top of current events. Gloria also comments on how “it’s hard to come up with a solid response to a conflict that is extremely complex, but it’s very exciting.” While this event is very difficult it keeps things exciting for the competitors.
Lastly Original Oratory (OO) and Oral Interpretation (OI) go hand in hand. They are both about giving speeches, however original oratory is one written by the competitors and performed, while oral interpretation forces public speakers to read an excerpt from a piece of literature expressing with only their face and voice. Each event comes with their challenges. Kris J. participated in OO where she had quite a bit of difficulty the first time “I forgot to breathe and then I went undertime– almost. I was nearly fainting so I really hope that doesn’t happen again.” While she was not confident last year she has gained it with experience. This is one of the more independent events that really comes down to how well each student can write and deliver an interesting speech that pertains to who they are. Zarina Angell is a senior involved in OI. She finds that the hardest thing about it is really “keeping your body still because naturally you want to express the story with your whole body.”
Each event comes with its own baggage. They require special skill sets such as thinking quickly, strong arguments, solid knowledge and finally keeping your body still. Often times speaking events at ISKL are overlooked, but these committed students should be recognized. On the weekend of February 18th the competitors in SEA will fight for an ISKL victory. It lies in the hands of the students to come out and support the wonderful speakers.