Forensics riding success to greater heights
Peabody-Burns kicked off its forensics season in January, and junior Sarah Spencer wasted no time becoming the school’s first state qualifier of the season.
“I just want to keep improving my poetry that’s already qualified so it will still be really good at state,” she said. “I’m going to move forward about the same so I can improve myself for when I get to state.”
Sarah is motivated to excel, coach Lillian Lingenfelter said.
“She has goals and knows what she needs and wants to meet those goals,” Lingenfelter said. “She’s a very coachable person, takes feedback and works really well with it.”
Along with Sarah’s motivation, she has developed her own style, Lingenfelter said.
“She finds ones that are well-fitted to her personality, and that makes her a better competitor,” Lingenfelter said. “She can really feel the poem. It gives her more passion because it sounds like something she would say, not just reading words on a page.”
Sarah qualified for her poetic piece and hopes to qualify in oration as well.
Reaching the next level will require her to improve enunciation and slow down, Sarah said.
“Sometimes I get moving a little too fast,” she said. “I get super into it, but then I miss a word because it just doesn’t come out quite right. I need to take a moment and make sure everything comes out clearly.”
The team is striving to have more members qualify. Sarah placed third in both poetry and original oration, while Jasper Talkington placed third in informative over the weekend. The top two finishers in each category qualify for state.
Lingenfelter’s goal for the team was to have two students qualify for state, but now she’s aiming higher.
“Now that we have one, we’ve talked about adjusting that, looking toward qualifying three or four members for state,” she said.
Some team members are working on developing accents, as well as timing speeches and performances properly.
There are many ways to improve, so finding specific points is important, Lingenfelter said.
“When you’re performing on a state level the judges are really looking for things like eye contact, posture, enunciation, and of course, emotion,” Lingenfelter said. “Sarah’s piece is really moving and has a strong message. She’s able to pull that out and make the judges feel what the poem wants them to feel.”
Lingenfelter works with students several times over the course of a week, and caps it off by having them perform in front of peers on Fridays.
“It helps a lot to get advice on stuff you can improve and what you’re doing well,” Sarah said.
Her crowning achievement for the season would be doing well at state, but Sarah is already anticipating next year.
“I know it’s just the beginning of the season, but I’m already excited for next season,” she said. “Having some experience at state will be really helpful.”
One of Lingenfelter’s advantages is her own experience competing in high school and college.
“It’s absolutely better to have more experience and know what it’s going to be like,” she said. “You help the students know what to expect because you’ve been in their shoes before.”
Last modified Feb. 13, 2020