FORENSICS AND DEBATE
Students joining this academic/dramatic club have the opportunity to develop speaking skills on a competitive level. On a monthly (and sometimes bi-monthly) basis, members travel to compete with other schools from all over the state. The meets take place on select Saturdays from October to April. The most popular categories for Forensics/Debate beginners are Prose and Poetry Interpretation. In these categories, the speakers interpret prose or poetry of their choice using a script to read to an audience. Another popular category is Dramatic or Humorous Interpretation. The more experienced students choose this area since it involves memorizing a scene from a play and presenting it to an audience.
There are categories for every kind of speaker. If a student feels strongly about his/her convictions, he/she might write a speech to convince others, memorize it and present it. Students may wish to memorize someone else’s speech instead, presenting it as though they were the original orator. Perhaps the most challenging category is Extemporaneous Speaking, in which a student must prepare a speech about a contemporary political problem. The topic of the speech is drawn by the student only one-half hour before the speech is presented. The last category, Impromptu Speaking, provides the “off-the-cuff” speaker with an opportunity to demonstrate his/her skill.
Policy, public forum and Lincoln-Douglas debates are highly structured activities where students debate on policy topics of national interest to present arguments on behalf of specific solutions. Teams or individuals perform research and prepare extensively prior to tournaments, during which they are required to argue both the affirmative and negative sides of the topic. Judges render decisions based on evidence presented and quality of argumentation.
Since our school belongs to the National Forensics League, as well as the New Jersey Forensics League, students have the opportunity to compete for national recognition and scholarships.