The Millburn Forensics Team, which is headed to state championship competition this weekend, has been having a tremendous season.
The team competes in speech and debate events at weekly tournaments. With more than 100 students as active members of the team, Forensics is “arguably” the school’s most popular academic team and extracurricular pursuit.
Saturday's tournament at Ridge High School was the final tournament for the team before the New Jersey State Championship, which will also be held at Ridge this Friday and Saturday.
At last week's tournament, many team members broke into the final rounds of the competition.
In Varsity Extemporaneous Speaking, sophomore Chase Harrison came in fourth place overall. In JV Extemp, eighth-grade team member Satyen Gupta came in third place, sophomore Alyssa Ahn came in fourth place and freshman Angela Jin came in fifth plce.
Extemporaneous speakers have the difficult challenge of developing a seven-minute speech in only 30 minutes. These speeches may relate to current events, global controversies or even pop culture. Without available Web access, “extempers” must have an exhaustive breadth of research ready and the ability to think on their feet, not to mention the ability to deliver a convincing speech.
In Varsity Public Forum Debate, the team of juniors Saachi Gupta and Steven Yaffe, who recently qualified for the PF Tournament of Champions in Kentucky after their tournament win in Scarsdale, N.Y. and an impressive performance at Harvard, came in fourth place.
In JV Public Forum, the team of freshmen Dylan Boyd and Max Kanef came in fourth place.
In JV Lincoln-Douglas debate, sophomore Sam Gersho came in third place, while sophomore Charles Zhang came in sixth place.
Debating at weekly tournaments with resolutions that change each month, the Lincoln-Douglas and Public-Forum debaters spend their time researching, developing their contentions and practicing their speaking, delivery, and crossfire skills. Team members go above and beyond what you might expect; they’ve tackled complex global and moral issues with eloquence and competitive edge.
In the JV Oral Interpretation event, freshman George Jiang came in sixth place overall, in only his second tournament. OI speakers are judged on their interpretation and delivery of ten-minute excerpts of poetry or prose that must tell a riveting story or convey a powerful (or humorous) message.
Many members of the team have accumulated points necessary to belong to the National Forensic League, an acclaimed national academic honor society.
Team members have competed this year at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, George Mason U (Va.), Montgomery Bell Academy (Tenn.), Glenbrooks (Ill.), Scarsdale (N.Y.), Bronx Science (N.Y.), and many competitors have qualified for the extremely prestigious the Tournaments of Champions in Chicago and Lexington (Ky), and the National Championship tournaments in Baltimore and Indianapolis.
Stay tuned to Millburn-Short Hills Patch throughout the month of March for more reports on the Forensics Team's progress throughout the state championships this weekend, the novice state championship tournament the weekend of March 10, and the national championship qualifier tournament the weekend of March 23-24.
Editor's note: Reporter Max Sauberman, a junior, is co-captain of the Forensics team.