On Saturday, four East students — senior Megan Gertzen, juniors Brena Levy and Kate Higgins and sophomore Jacob Roberts — qualified for the National Speech and Debate Association’s national competition. The forensics team traveled to Lansing High School to compete at the East Kansas National Speech and Debate Association National Qualifiers. In order to qualify, competitors had to place in the top three in one of the more than ten categories.
Gertzen placed second in the Dramatic Interpretation category by taking on the role of the mother of one of the Columbine shooters with a piece titled “A Mother’s Reckoning” by Susan Klebold.
Levy and Higgins placed first in the duo category with their piece entitled “Hillary: A Modern Greek Tragedy with a Somewhat Happy Ending” written by Wendy Weiner.
“It’s a satirical piece about Hillary Clinton’s life – literally maybe the funniest thing that I have ever done,” Levy said. “My favorite scene in it is when I act like Monica Lewinsky and my partner Kate acts like Bill Clinton.”
Levy and Higgins went to Nationals last year, but failed to meet the top three mark at the previous qualifying meet this year – making this meet even more high stakes.
“We’ve worked so hard on this piece for the last couple months and it was amazing to see how all of that paid off,” said Higgins. “When they called the second place people, [Levy] and I knew we had gotten first, so we both started tearing up and [hugging] each other. It was just a great moment.”
Roberts placed third in the humorous interpretation category with his piece titled “Danny’s VLOG” by Bridgett Weaff.
“It felt amazing especially as a sophomore to get another chance to compete at a national level tournament,” said Roberts. “I went last year as a freshman and placed 72nd in the nation. The goal [for this year] is top 60.”
The national qualifiers will now turn their focus to perfecting their performances for the national competition held in Salt Lake City in June.
“The tournament in Salt Lake [City] will be the very last time I compete so I’m just hoping to enjoy the competition and perform in the moment every round,” Gertzen said.
East students will get a chance to see the winning performances among others at the Forensics Showcases held on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. and Friday afternoon at 3 p.m.