November 12, 2014

Apex High School Forensics Team holds first ever meeting

Henry McKeand
Staff Writer

There’s a new and exciting team at Apex High, and it’s perfect for people who are interested in public speaking.  Forensics team, a group that will compete in speech and debate events, is starting its first year at Apex.  The first competition for the school took place on Nov. 8 at Cary High.  Junior Matt Dershowitz placed sixth in the impromptu speaking category, bringing home a trophy for the school.  Senior Matt Sholtis and junior Daniel Pan from Apex received an honorable mention in the public forum category.  Apex has never had a speech and debate team, and Wake County would like to have a debate team at every high school.   “The school has never had a speech team before,” says Alexandra Mann, an English teacher at Apex who advises the team.  “There are a couple of prominent teams in the area and it has been a goal for the county to have a team in every school.  Ms. Hill and Mr. Wight expressed interest in it.”

There are different types of events in which to participate.  Lincoln-Douglas is a style of debate where two people argue either the affirmative or the negative of an issue with facts and logic.  Public forum is similar, but it is done in groups of two.  For people who don’t like debate, there are events in the speech category that are more creative.  Impromptu speaking involves receiving a random topic, having a few minutes to think about the subject, and preparing a short speech.  There are also events called interpretations that can be done alone or with a partner.  An interpretation involves a performance of approximately ten minutes of a published play, movie, speech, song, or television episode.  “It’s been a lot of fun so far,” said Joey Nonnenmacher, a junior at Apex.  “I’ve seen competitions at Cary High, and it seems like a good time.  Right now, I’m preparing for a duo-interpretation speech event at the upcoming Cary High competition…I saw it as a good opportunity to get involved with a team and improve on my public speaking.” 

“There are two avenues, speech and debate.  Speech is all about creativity while debate is more uniform.  Debate sets the topic and students all around the world are informed on the same topic, and there’s a lot of uniformity,” says Mann.  It is common for high schools to have speech and debate teams, and there is even a National Forensics League that sets the rules and standards for teams all around the country.  Up until now Apex has had a debate club, but the new team is an important addition.  “They both serve excellent purposes,” says Mann.  “The club is for people with other obligations and it gives them a chance to get a taste of debate.  It’s more fluid and flexible.  Debate team is also fun, but it has more structure.”

The team is new to the school, but Mann has big hopes for it.  “I would like for it to grow and have multiple classes.  It would be nice if it was more student run and if more camaraderie developed.”  Students are encouraged to look into the team and join.  “(Students) won’t be just doing it for the project.  The skills that they will learn are universal.  Being informed is so powerful and it gives a student purpose.  It can make you enjoy life more.”