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Fiat Library: Forensics



Wednesday, February 19: AAA In-House Speech Contest

Saturday, March 7: Interscholastic Speech Contest at Ancillae

Saturday, March 21: St. Jude Forensics Competition 


Why Compete In Forensics? 

Forensics is one of the most rewarding and beneficial educational activities available to students. 

Forensics helps students gain valuable skills in developing confidence, not only in front of an audience, but in interpersonal communication as well. 

Forensics helps students acquire academic skills essential to developing presentations, conducting academic research, thinking critically through problems, listening analytically to arguments, understanding current social and political issues, appreciating literature, and developing writing skills. 

Forensics helps students attain various levels of higher education and has demonstrated that it benefits them in their professional careers long after they leave school. 

Forensics helps students have fun and gives them a chance to shine in an academic environment, a chance to win awards for intellect. 

Forensics students find that they are often pushed to do work beyond what they thought possible and find that in striving for that goal, they have learned much in the process. 

Forensics speech tournaments are a good place to meet people and make friends. Students get to know their teammates through practice sessions and at tournaments, and also get the opportunity to meet students from other schools around the state. 

Introduction Links

These links will provide an overview of forensics competitions.

Forensics Links and Resources for Students and Judges

Interested in Forensics?

To Do List

  1. Pick a category
  2. Search for a piece (browse the Library shelves, use Destiny or the links provided in the "more information" button. Also take a look at the resources in the Forensics Corner)
  3. Time the piece; if too long, cut it and if too short, consider a new piece
  4. Make sure you can answer these questions about your piece: Who is speaking? To whom is the speaker speaking? Where is the speaker speaking? When is the speaker speaking? How is the speaker speaking? Why is the speaker speaking?
  5. Go through the piece and underline (on your copy!!) any words you can't pronounce or understand the meaning. Ask for help or look for the word in the dictionary.
  6. Review the characteristics of your category and what judges consider the most important.
  7. Begin to type your piece! Format your piece so that it fits inside your binder and the pages can be turned easily. Triple space your lines so you can write comments in between if necessary. Speeches should be re-typed after they are cut!
  8. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!!! You cannot improve or be given any sort of help to improve if you do not do your part! If your piece needs to be memorized, start out with small sections and add on a little every week.
  9. Write your introduction. See "more information" button for ideas. Be sure it grabs the listener's interest and that it has stated the important information such as the name and author of the piece. It should be no longer than 45 seconds in length. Be sure it is memorized for all categories.
  10. Support your teammates!

Category: Original Oratory

The contestant prepares a four to seven minute speech of his own choosing. The speech must be persuasive or informative in nature. The speech must be delivered without notes. The speech should have a clear central idea. The main points should support the central idea. There should be sufficient and timely evidence to convince the audience. The introduction and the conclusion should be effective, and the transition should be smooth within the speech. The speaker should demonstrate originality of thought.


Category: Declamation

 The contestant delivers without notes a speech publicly given by someone else. Speeches may be edited to fit a four to seven minute time requirement, and must be preceded by a brief introduction - 30 to 45 seconds - that identifies the author and the situation in which the speech was originally given. The selection should be appropriate to the speaker and the situation. Thus, the speech should not be above the comprehension of the speaker or the audience (6th, 7th and 8th grade students). The speaker's main purpose is to communicate his or her understanding to the audience. The speaker's task is not to mimic the original speaker's personality or voice.



Category: Poetry or Prose

Selections used in this reading event must have literary merit and be suited to the speaker. The introduction and reading selection should range between four and seven minutes, with no more than forty-five seconds spent on the introduction. The piece is not memorized and the manuscript is kept in a small binder that is held in one of the speaker's hands. The speaker reads from the selection; he or she is not engaged in acting or dramatic impersonation, but in reading materials which illicit a response from the listener. Still, the reader must maintain a balance of reading the manuscript and making eye contact with the audience. The prose selection may be taken from essays, short stories, or novels, and may nor may not be contain character dialogue. Selections from movies or plays are not permitted in this category. Poetry contestants may choose to recite one long poem or several short poems that are related by theme or common author.


Duo Interpretation

Selections used in this reading event must have literary merit and be suited to the speaker. The interpretation should provide a challenge and be suitable for an educational experience. The material should be from a play or literary selection that involves an exchange between two characters. An interpreter may represent only one character; multiple character duo is acceptable but not common in most tournaments at this level. The speaker must hold the manuscript in his or her hand. The reading is not meant to be a dramatic impersonation or act, but a reading which still interests the audience. Contestants must maintain an off-stage focus and may not make eye contact with each other except during the introduction. Props and costumes are not allowed. The time limit is four to seven minutes with a maximum forty-five second introduction.


Dramatic Interpretation

Selections chosen for this category must be memorized, have literary merit, and are customarily scenes and/or monologues from plays.  Despite the performance nature of this category, no props or costumes may used. The performer should utilize movement, mime, and vocal variety to make the characters interesting, engaging, and lifelike. They may have single or multiple characters and students should have a clear and distinctive difference of these characters in their presentation.  Transitions between characters should be smooth and clean. The piece should fit into the maximum 7-minute time frame and an introduction of no more than 30 seconds should be given with details and appealing information to the listeners. Pieces may be humorous or dramatic, but should be age appropriate for the student. Singing is permitted, however no more than 30 seconds in length.


Forensics Moderator

Madeline Hlywiak

215-885-1636 ext. 147