The road back to forensics

Abigail VanderBerg, Staff Writer

Ever since I was little, I believed I was a performer. I would make up my own songs and sing them in front of my mom. Screaming in blissful innocence was a favorite past time, whether it was talking to the people or just fantasizing about giving speeches. Unlike the average teen, I am an extrovert. I like talking to people and having conversations. I love finding out people’s thoughts and opinions. This combination of talking and listening led me to Forensics.

My sister had competed in Forensics in Storytelling. I was fascinated by everything. So, in 6th grade, my English teacher announced that she was going to start a Forensics team. I was interested, but never got around to it. In seventh grade, I remembered a spoken word poem my English teacher showed our class in sixth grade, called “To This Day.”  I emailed her, asking her if she remembered showing us that. That year, I visited her every morning with my friend, Helen. The day after I sent the email, she said I should perform the poem. It was two weeks before the competition.

In two days, I memorized the poem. After school every day, I practiced and practiced. At the competition, I broke semifinals. There was also a spring competition I participated in, but didn’t do so well. I didn’t participate in 8th grade, despite encouragement, because I was still finding my path and where I wanted to go. That road ultimately led back to Forensics.

Now, as a freshman,  it’s almost been a week since I attended my first high school level Forensics competition, and I have fallen in love all over again. The people you meet make you feel so natural: you know everyone wants to win, but no one loses their politeness.

I am in Poetry, a very emotional subdivision. I did a compilation of 3 poems all by Flatsound surrounding the idea of how mental illness can strain your relationships, which is something many people can relate to. I didn’t break semifinals, but I don’t care. At the end of the day, you want to win but you said what you had to say. You went up and spoke in front of people, something many kids struggle with. Everyone is scared and nervous, but it’s an experience everyone should know.

Many of my friends broke semifinals, even ones from different school, and the pride I felt was amazing. I remember the winning piece was about interracial couples and the struggles they face. Watching this poem made me realize so many things, and that is what forensics is about. Understanding others, and remembering why we all exist. No matter your race, gender, sexual orientation, or political view, there’s a place for everyone, and watching the pieces of others is guaranteed to amaze.