WJ Forensics team triumphs at first meet


Forensics is not only a science class offered at WJ, but also the name of one of the most successful extracurricular activities offered at the school. Forensics is a public speaking competition where students from all across the county come to compete. Various speeches and monologues are recited and graded for the speaker’s use of characterization and phrasing to establish an appropriate performance. Winners move on through a series of rounds, the best competing in the finals in February 2018.

Walter Johnson is entering the 2017-2018 competition after having a very successful season last school year, being crowned the league’s championship team with a total of 386 points, more than double of the second place team. This year’s first meet was just a continuation of their success, earning 70 points, 29 more than the second place team.

Rusty McCrady has been WJ’s Forensics coach since 1993 and has been working hard these first few months of the school year to ensure success for the team.

“Saturday’s meet was a good start. Our team won the event thanks to our first place winners in several categories, but we can do much better. We need to get more people involved. There is no other competitive activity like [Forensics]: presenting speeches, poetry, drama, stories, to a live audience,” McCrady remarked.

With many newcomers to the team this year, the season so far has been a little nerve wracking for some. But those nerves proved to be useful for sophomore Alexa Goldstein, who placed third in her category of Children’s Literature at the first meet of the season.

“I decided to get involved in Forensics because I knew a lot of people who had done it and really enjoyed it. I thought it was something that I would like because I’m in the show at WJ and a lot kids there do Forensics. I love bonding with all of my teammates between rounds too,” Goldstein commented before the meet results were announced.

The captains this year are seniors Sophie Schulman and Mary Rose Yockel, both of whom have shown continuous dedication and excellence in personal achievements throughout their time on the team.

At the first meet, Schulman received first place in the humor category, second place in dramatic interpretation as well as first place in a Reader’s Theater duo piece with junior Julia Eisen and first place in an ensemble acting scene with Yockel and senior Jacob Lu.  

“It’s different being a captain because I’m really focused on the team as a whole and I also feel like I have a reputation to keep up so I really want to do well. Being afraid of public speaking shouldn’t hold you back from doing Forensics because between Mr. McCrady, myself and Mary Rose and everyone else on the team, there’s someone who can help you learn this essential life skill,” Schulman said.

The next qualifying meet is December 9. Until then the team hopes to work hard in order for more members to move on and eventually get to the finals.