The Iowa Rams Forensics team competed in the NCASB (North Central Association of Schools for the Blind) conference meet in December. For the second year, in a row the Rams took home the first place trophy! Below you will find a note from Coach Sheryl Thomsen and a summary on each team member.
“I am so proud of all these students winning first place for a second year in a row. We certainly had a relatively short time to prepare and present this year having been notified near the end of September, and with holiday interruption, too. They all worked really hard and stayed focused on the end goal of presenting December 6, 7, and 8. The competition was much stronger this year as well with ten other schools presenting in the NCASB conference. We earned first place by only 8 points so, even though some students may not have placed, the accumulation of all the points mattered.” -Coach Sheryl Thomsen
Dylan Carter, 9th, New Hampton High School, New Hampton Iowa, Second year competing, 3rd place medal. Category; Serious Interpretation – Stop the Sun (Terry’s father has PTSD from fighting in the Vietnam War. His condition is so bad, it always affects his daily life. He cannot open up to anyone because the people that he should open up to (Terry and Terry’s mom) have never experienced what he has experienced. In the story “Stop the Sun” by Gary Paulsen the theme is some people have problems that sometimes we can’t understand because it isn’t something that can’t be understood, but the knowledge that we obtain when we ask questions is more beneficial than when we don’t try to seek understanding.) Dylan stretched himself this year doing a very heavy serious piece. He worked very hard on trying to set the mood of a man suffering the horrors of PTSD from war and painting the agonizing images his words depicted. He told me, “Next time I’d like to do something funny. This was hard.”
Nataile Davis, 11th, Pocahontas Area High School, Albert City Iowa, First year competing
Category: Open Category – Children’s story – Horton Hatches the Egg (An elephant sits on the nest of a lazy bird who goes on vacation. Facing ridicule by friends, captivity, and becoming a circus sideshow all the while tending to the egg. In the end, hard work and dedication is rewarded.) Laura Albers helped Nataile rehearse and operated the Zoom for the contest. Nataile has excellent vocal abilities and interpretation skills. Although she struggled with illness during the competition, she persevered and did very well for her first time performing. I know her confidence increased as we rehearsed and hope that she continues next year as I know she will be terrific.
Ryder Drapeau, 7th, Roosevelt Middle School, Bellevue Iowa, First year competing, Third place medal. Category: 4-minute Speech – Audio Games (Created speech with a brief history of the development of accessible audio games for the visually impaired. Belinda Voelschow Massingill provided a conduit between coach and Ryder by keeping him on task.Technical issues plagued connecting with Ryder throughout the entire rehearsal time. He has tremendous potential and a great speaking voice. He created a speech that was entertaining and informative. I think he will be a huge asset next year and for years to come.
Kadyn Haggard, 12+, IESBVI 4 Plus program, Humboldt Iowa, Second and last year competing, First place medal for HP, Second place medal for GS (4 points away from first) Categories: Humorous Prose – Apple Blossoms (A boy gets nervous and tongue-tied in presenting a poem in front of the class saying Assel Bloppems for Apple Blossoms over and over.) and Great Speeches – Steve Carell’s Princeton Address (Speech to graduating senior at Princeton reminding them that interpersonal communication is still important.) The 4Plus staff provided rehearsal/timing assistance for Kadyn as well as helped each night with Zoom contest rooms. Kadyn is the hardest working student I had this year. He has a great attitude and enjoys creating character voices. When I needed a person to do a second piece, he took up the additional work load and performed exceptionally well in both. As Fred Gritten said, “You got it. You can do it. Good job.” What a truly dedicated and talented young man. I often wish I could clone him as this will be his last year competing. He will be truly missed.
Adalyn Hyde, 7th, Immaculate Conception/St. Joseph (Waterloo), Waterloo Iowa, First year competing, Third place medal (1 point away from second!) Category: 8-minute Speech – Halloween Movies (Created speech about Halloween movies and the differences between comedic movies and scary movies.) Addy was a huge surprise for me. She is so quick and sharp! She has a natural way of presenting a speech that looks unrehearsed and stays on task. She was so close to a second place finish and I know great things are in her future. I hope she continues for many years to come
Jack May, 12+, IESBVI 4 Plus program, Urbandale Iowa, First year competing, Fourth Place medal. Category: Serious Prose – The Tale of the Three Trees (The tale of how three trees were used contrary to their anthropomorphic hopes and dreams but rather the important stages in the life of Christ – cradle, boat, and cross.) The 4Plus staff, Stacey and Alyssa, helped Jack tremendously in tailoring his piece to his time limits and creating a reading format that worked well for Jack as well as helped each night with Zoom contest rooms. Jack was the most improved student of all. When we began, we struggled to find a piece and then had problems with timing. But with tremendous perseverance and practice, he did an awesome job. I am so very proud of him.
Niyati Patel, 10th, Pleasant Valley High School, Bettendorf Iowa, First year competing. Category: Impromptu (A 4-minute on-the-spot speech created from a drawn topic.) Niyati took on one of the toughest, if not THE toughest categories. I was so worried that she would hate Forensics. She continually improved each rehearsal and was one of the few students to meet her time constraints in her impromptu speech. She was tenacious and impressed me with her willingness to work hard.
Tayler Soppe, 7th, Roosevelt Middle School, Dubuque Iowa, First year competing, First place medal. Category: Poetry – Cinderella by Roald Dahl (A twisted tale of Cinderella where in the end the step-sisters are beheaded and Cinderella marries a jam maker instead of her prince.) Tayler surprised me the first day we rehearsed. She has tremendous vocal abilities and picks things up so quickly. Slowing her down was the hardest part of coaching her. She will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
Madison Sander-Mauer, 12+, IESBVI 4 Plus program, Lawton Iowa, Second year competing, Second place medal (9 points away from first). Category: Humorous Interpretation – Elphaba (The tale of the Wicked Witch of the West from the story of the Wizard of Oz but from her perspective.) The 4Plus staff helped Madison rehearse her piece as well as helped each night with Zoom contest rooms. Madison really got into portraying Elphaba exceedingly well. Her Valley Girl Glinda still cracks me up! She is improving every year – last year fourth place and this year second. Next year she is aiming for first! Great job, Madison.
Angela Wittrock, 12th, Southeast Polk High School, Des Moines Iowa, 3/4 years? Competing, Second place medal (by 2 points from first). Category: Serious Prose – Normalcy (How do you recover from an unthinkable tragedy? Shawna’s father has sent her to a psychiatrist to “get back to some sense of normalcy,” after her mother’s violent murder. Though she wishes she could remain silent, her bottled up emotions come pouring out as she battles with her feelings of anger, grief, and disbelief. How can she possibly feel normal in any way when she loves her brother, her mother’s murderer?) Angela is our most seasoned veteran performer. She gave a truly tremendous performance. Her competition was tough and Angela was only 2 points behind first garnering a second place finish. Excellent performance! This was Angela’s last year competing and she has always been a solid rock for our team. I have enjoyed working with her and wish her all the best in her chosen future. I will truly miss her next year.