Cedar Grove-Belgium forensics team proves to be masters of rhetoric
The feeling is familiar for many high school students.
They get up in front of the class for the first time and have to give a speech.
Their palms get sweaty, their face turns red and their breathing becomes shallow and rapid.
The Cedar Grove-Belgium High School forensics team is around to help ease those fears by providing a chance for students to gain valuable public speaking experience.
“The biggest thing you take away from it is public speaking and social interaction,” senior Kim Mueller said.
“You learn how to communicate not just with an audience, but with other people on your team.”
The 36-member team finished its season by taking home six gold medals at the state meet in Madison on April 17.
The Rockets won the Central Lakeshore Conference for the third straight year and took 34 members to state.
The team participated in two invitationals, at Wisconsin Lutheran High School in January and Beaver Dam High School in February.
It also participated in sub-district and district competitions in Grafton and
Manitowoc, respectively, in addition to the conference meet.
“I’m always happy with how things go when they go well and we had a really good season,” faculty adviser Mary Beth Desens said.
“We’re graduating a large group of seniors that will be a very big void to fill.”
Participants are graded for their pronunciation, volume, facial expressions, movements, gestures and pace, Desens said.
At the state meet, Mueller, along with four other seniors, participated in the play acting category and earned 22 out of 25 points for a spoof on a court case called “A Fairy Trial.”
“It was an audience interaction piece that featured Humpty Dumpty and Little Bo Peep,” Mueller said. “I’ve always liked acting and this lets me stay involved with that.”
Junior Brooke Tharp’s group performed an interpretation of the Mad Tea Party from Alice in Wonderland.
“We did a lot of crazy, goofy movements and there was a lot of shouting involved,” Tharp said.
Sophomore Vanessa Depies participated in forensics for the first time this year and took home a trophy in her first competition at Beaver Dam.
“One of my friends told me how much fun it was last year and I started looking at careers I might be interested in and public speaking is a big part of those,” Depies said. “Forensics will help with that.”
Depies earned a silver medal for her public address piece on school food regulations.
“I talked about how food is or is not healthy for students and the nutrition that goes with it,” she said.
This is the 12th year Desens has coached the forensics teams and the eighth year she and Chris Nonhof have coached together.
“The growth kids make from the time they join until they graduate is really fun for a coach to look at over the years,” Desens said.
“I’ve had several kids start out not wanting to do it, but they knew public speaking was an area of weakness for them.
“The amount of personal growth that you see and the confidence they gain is wonderful.”
Image information: FORENSICS TEAM MEMBERS (front row, from left) Lizzy Berndt, Nick Spredemann, Ehryn Runkel, Deanna Hoffmann, Brooke Tharp, Sarah Kiskunas, Kim Mueller, Ally Lesar, (second row) Madeline Brey, Maggie Turchinski, Melissa Krauska, Abby Sauer, Molly Dirkse, Ashley Washak, (third row) Alex Weiland, Amanda Niebauer, Maddison Schreurs, (fourth row) Vanessa Depies, Natalie Brey, Gabby Jurgilanis, Ana Moreno, (fifth row) Anna Sauer, Jenny Claerbaut, Brianna Amore, Abigail Lavey, Christa Duenk, (back row) Zach Riesselmann, Will DeBlaey, Jacob Ferber, Ben Schroeder, Katie Gruell, James Riesselmann and Linzy Kappler recently completed their season with 12 bronze, 16 silver and 6 gold medal performances at the state meet in Madison.