Taking home the Gold

Forensics team celebrates outcome at NSAA State Speech tournament


Photo Courtesy of @mwforensics

Celebrating a first place championship in informative speech, senior Gretna John poses for a selfie with Forensic coaches Jennifer Jermome and Rachel Vanengen.

Kelsey Nunnenkamp, Managing Editor

On Thursday, March 16, Forensics students traveled to Kearney, Nebraska to compete at the NSAA State Speech Championship. 

By the end of a very long tournament, the Wildcats were able to celebrate an exciting first-place win for State Champion senior Greta John in informative speaking. However, this skill of public speaking is not something that comes naturally. Leading up to speech season, there is plenty of preparation that goes into it by each and every competitor. 

“I’ve been working on my speech since about midsummer, but ever since school started, I come in two to three times a week after school to run in front of our coaches and peers to get feedback and critiques,” John said. “It has taken a lot of work, but I’m so happy that I did it.”

 John chose to do her speech over swear words because everyone is familiar with swearing, which made it possible to keep the speech creative and fun for the audience to listen to. This topic was something that had never been done before and kept the judges and the audience hooked throughout the entirety of the speech. 

Much like sports, Speech is an NSAA event so students qualify by placing in the top four in their category at Districts. Prior to the State competition, the Wildcats placed third overall at the District level and sent a total of six events to state. 

Each Forensics competition has three preliminary rounds. First, competitors are split into six different groups based on which events they will be competing in. From there, a judge will rank each speech from 1-6 (one being the best and six being the speech that needs the most improvement). Immediately following, the competitors will repeat this with a new group of people, two more times. Based on how they were ranked in the previous three rounds, they then break to finals with the top six overall. In the final round, there are three judges who rank the competitors from 1-6 again to determine the final ranking. 

Also new to 2023 State Forensics, was the addition of the Unified Speech program which highlighted ACP students across Nebraska. From Millard West, juniors Nick Wright and Nina Mills did an Informative on Unified Sports, and freshman Cruz Kessler did an informative on Arcades.

“When I hosted the MW Showcase on Jan. 28, a member of the NSAA staff saw my Facebook post about the addition of Unified Forensics and talked to me about how I put it together,” Forensics coach Jennifer Jerome said. “From there, the NSAA sent out applications to all schools inviting them to showcase their students. Each day, of the three-day State Championship, showcased intellectually disabled students from across the state.”

There were many accomplishments earned by all Millard West competitors at both the state and local levels this year.  To conclude the season on March 29, the Forensics team was able to hold their annual in-person showcase in the library to show off their improvement and celebrate a state championship.