Forensics coach preps for final season
As the new year approaches, Janet Killough prepares for her final season as Marion High School’s forensics coach.
The team’s members have decreased in recent years, but Killough expects to have around 25 members each season and stay competitive at matches.
“If they start in forensics I can usually keep them in it,” she said. “I think it’s about building their self-confidence.”
The team won league titles during their time in the Cottonwood Valley League, and after transitioning to the Heart of America League.
The team usually has 12 members qualify for state out of a maximum of 16, Killough said.
“Marion has a pretty good reputation for doing well,” she said. “We don’t have as many kids as we used to have in the program. That’s just because there are so many things for them to do now.”
The most popular events are prose and poetry, which average about 30 students each.
One of Killough’s best moments was when a student won state for poetry 16 years ago. The student had a tumor removed from his throat due to cancer earlier in the year, which left half his face paralyzed, Killough said.
“The night before state he came to me and begged me not to make him compete,” she said. “He cried, and I cried too. I told him, ‘You are going to compete, and you don’t want to regret the fact that you didn’t.’”
There are nine categories total, ranging from acting to informational speaking.
“I’m not a great speaking coach,” she said. “I can tell them what to do and how to do it, but that’s not where my passion lies.”
The members earn at least one point for each performance, and gain more depending on their rank and overall score.
Similar to competitive academic groups like Scholars Bowl, forensics students can participate in eight competitions per season, not including state.
Killough tries to keep trips within an hour, but it is difficult to find eight tournaments without travelling a long distance.
“Last year we couldn’t find eight tournaments unless we were willing to drive to Kansas City,” she said. “I’m not going to do that. If they have a game on Friday night then we’d have to be on the way at 4 a.m.”
Last modified Nov. 28, 2018