Junior%2C+Kiara+Wolfram+performs+her+Storytelling+piece+at+the+annual+banquet

Andrea Moser

Junior, Kiara Wolfram performs her Storytelling piece at the annual banquet

Fort Speech and Debate Find Success in Virtual Season

Despite the setbacks of the current status of the world, the Fort Atkinson Forensics and Debate teams have kept their momentum and have been competing with just as much tenacity as ever. 

Just like most other sports and organizations, forensics and debate have had to alter their tournaments from their previous in-person format to primarily asynchronous (forensics) and synchronous (debate) online systems. Now, students must pre-record their performances and send them in where judges will review them remotely. This has been a big transition, as forensicators are no longer able to view their competitors’ presentations and have the opportunity to perfect their videos before submission, whilst previously speakers did not have that luxury and only got ‘one take.’ 

In addition to the traditional forensics and debate tournaments, this season, FAHS has taken on a subset of the organization called Congress which combines debate and forensics into one event. These tournaments usually take place on the Friday night before Saturday morning’s forensics events. Amongst the participating members, two students, sophomore, Quinn Teubert, and junior, Andrew Meacham, advanced to Nationals. 

Student Congress success is very much dependent on how much work the individual wants to do to get ready. We always know what legislation will be talked about at a competition, but students only score highly if they have unique, well-researched things to say.  I’m proud of the work Andrew and Quinn did to get ready for their competitions and thrilled that it paid off with qualification to Nationals.” stated coach Dan Hansen regarding this exciting accomplishment. He would also like to credit fellow debaters and Congress competitors, Aiden Wirth, Elizabeth Barganz, and Courtney Majeres as he explains the importance of working as part of a team.    

Though virtual tournaments have stripped the teams of long van rides and hours spent together at competitions, which was the primary setting for the members to get to know each other better, the teams have worked hard to still establish a level of team bonding. A notable experience from this forensics season was the Badger Conference tournament, which unlike previous tournaments was a live, synchronous event. The team gathered at the high school early on Saturday morning where each forensicator was assigned their own classroom to perform in. This method was simultaneously COVID safe and gave the students an opportunity to meet in the same building to bond.

“We did not let our new environment damper our spirit, tenacity, competitiveness, or weaken our performance in any way.””

— Quinn Abbott, Forensics Captain

With the slew of technical difficulties aside, Conference was an overwhelming success for the team who took first place and have now been reigning Badger South champions for three years running. 

“It was an exciting day. We knew our students had been working extremely hard in preparation for this tournament and to have achieved our goal of winning Badger South was the boost we needed to finish out the season,” comments Assistant Coach Nicole Hampton.

The forensicators have high morale and are excited to continue the rest of their season– hopefully with just as much success. The 2020-2021 season was another opportunity for the speech and debate teams at Fort Atkinson High School to prove their great ability, achieved from the culmination of the talent of the students, as well as the guidance from their skilled and dedicated coaches, Andrea Moser, Nicole Hampton, Dan Hansen, and Becky Hansen.

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