By Alexandra Mauro '20
The Speech club at Fontbonne, also referred to as “Forensics,” enables students to be more comfortable when speaking in public. This club is run by Mr. Herron and Ms. Marinello, both previous teachers at Fontbonne. Even if you are not comfortable speaking in front of people, this club can assist in gaining confidence and even obtaining lifelong friends.
At the beginning of November, and the beginning of December, the Speech team had a competition at Saint Francis Academy, located in Queens, and a 2-day competition in Princeton, New Jersey. As a result of the competition at Saint Francis, which lasted about 8 hours, sophomore Brynn Nelsen, received 1st place in her category. As a result of the competition at Princeton, students Dianna Gentile and Jenna Gaglioti, as well as Arianna Heinsch and Larissa Mignano, all advanced to finals. The team was extremely supportive and excited to see each other achieve their goals.
The two most recent competitions at Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School (MELS) and Xaverian high school both occurred this December. These competitions were local, so the team did not have to compete against a large number of competitors. However, everyone still stayed focused and determined to win. While impatiently waiting for awards at MELS, Villa transfer students Alexandra Mauro (1st place in Dramatic Interpretation), Stephanie Patella (3rd place in Dramatic Interpretation), and Alessandra Antonacci (4th place in Dramatic Interpretation), all received their first trophies of the season! Many other members advanced to finals and received trophies as well. At Xaverian, the momentum continued when many team members received awards for each of their categories.
The scores you receive depend on how you perform in your specific round. For example, if you are competing in a round with 4 people, the judges will rank you out of 4, 1 being the best and 4 being the worst. The judges stay seated in the middle of the room while a competitor performs their peace. They write notes while watching the performance and rank the competitors at the end of the round. Depending on your score, you could receive a “half-qual,” which means that you’re halfway to qualifying for state champions. Once you get 2 “quals,” you’re all set to compete at states at the end of the year.
With the support and motivation from all of the members, Fontbonne’s team can rise to its full potential. If there’s one piece of advice that Mr. Herron says, and was also stressed during the first meeting, is to “leave your dignity at the door,” while performing. In saying this, he is trying to get the message across to not be embarrassed. Sometimes it’s embarrassing to perform a funny or ridiculous speech in front of other people, but it’s most important to not care and just give it your all. With a mindset like that, everything will fall into place when it comes to competition, and you’ll more than likely succeed with a great score.
Once you’ve experienced this club, your perspective on speaking could completely change for the better. Once you become more comfortable with speaking in front of others, it could be beneficial. When you have to present in college, or even go to something as simple as a job interview, thanks to Forensics, it could be made easier from the experience you’ve taken from the club. Trying it out could be a great idea to get more involved in the school and to have fun, too!