Forensics Team Succeeds at States

Forensics Members Voices Heard at State Competition

“Being able to communicate is a skill that everyone needs, no matter what your future career path.” – Mrs. Bompiani-Smith

“Students benefit greatly from participation in states, and just from Forensics overall,” said team Coach, Lisa Bompiani-Smith. Forensics is speech and debate, meaning communication skills are a large contribution.  From Forenisics, students become better speakers and communicators which can help with their future. “Being able to communicate is a skill that everyone needs, no matter what your future career path,” said Mrs. Bompiani-Smith, team coach.

​ On March 20-21, members of GLSH’s Forensics team attended the State Championships at Susquehanna University. “Having so many Latrobe students attend States is an incredible feeling because it is evidence of not only the students hard work, but also their dedication to such an educational experience,” said Bompiani-Smith.

“Latrobe has genuinely wonderful students who work hard and care about what they are doing so that they can represent the team well.  They are all so supportive of one another and truly are a team.  That makes me proud because it has become a Forensic Family. After graduation, the students and I keep in touch and maintain friendships.  It really makes me proud to see those relationships grow,” said Bompiani-Smith.

Students competed in preliminary events on Friday, and anxiously waited to see if they “broke”, meaning they moved onto the semi-finals.

Via a twitter page, The Pennsylvania High School Speech League announced those advancing to the semi-finals.

Taylor Sigut and Abbey Ford as well as Tiffany Diaz and Rachael Blissman competed for Duo Interpretation.  Ford and Sigut “broke” into the semi-finals. “When Taylor and I found out we broke we got so excited! Competition was extremely tough this year in the duo category so we didn’t think we had a chance,” said Ford.

Samantha Friedline and Paige Lesko competed for Prose Interpretation, with Friedline advancing to the semi-finals. “Making it to the semi-finals at states was probably one of the greatest learning experiences I’ve ever had,” said Friedline. Friedline received third place at states-qualifiers and only made it to states by luck. “I didn’t expect to make it to the semi-finals. By making it to that point I learned to have faith in my speaking abilities and also that I’m pretty darn good at prose and that I should be proud of that,” said Freidline.

Laurel Sipe competed for Original Oratory. Sipe not only is proud to have attended states, but also values the experience as a whole. “I learn so much from my competitors and interacting with them, and from prepping each year. It’s not so much about winning for me as it is the experience, although next year everyone in debate will have another thing coming!”

For Dramatic Interpretation, Lara Daigle and Amanda Baez-Snyder both competed and broke into the semi-finals. Freshman, Jason Starr competed for Commentary Speaking. And for Impromptu Speaking, Anna Wilson competed, and Senior, David Wilson competed in the Lincoln-Douglas Debate. As well as Lindsey Anna competed for Humorous Interpretation.

Both Abbey Ford and Taylor Sigut ranked 9th out of 26 teams in their section. “It was very exciting to be ranked in the top ten, or even to make it to semi’s. We competed with a lot of private schools that have forensics as a class. They live and breathe this stuff,” said Ford.

“​Working with students who are so talented and dedicated makes me value the activity even more than I already do.  Every piece pushes me to find ways to help the students grow as speakers and interpreters because as they grow and improve, I need to grow and improve as a coach.  Their success pushes me to be a better coach so that we can continue those successes,” said Bompiani-Smith.

A lot goes into preparing for an event such as states, and the team was very involved. “The students begin preparing for States early in the year, usually September, when they start thinking about the events in which they want to participate and the pieces they want to use.  Then, we have weekly practices until the qualifier tournament which is a Saturday in February.  To qualify, the students have to place 1st or 2nd in their category; there are about 9 schools that compete in our local district,” said Bompiani-Smith.

Certain aspects that students have to help them succeed and Greater Latrobe is no exception. “The students are willing to put themselves “out there” and take chances. ​The students choose their pieces and work on them by themselves before I give advice.  I love that they stand by their choices and do not back down if they feel strongly about something.  The students feel ownership over their performances, and I think that flare shows through in their performances,” said Bompiani-Smith.

Having spots for everyone who was interested was a challenge because each team is limited to two entries per event.  The team had to do some shifting and finding spots for everyone because of the growth in interest. Thankfully, it worked out for everyone. TIme was also a challenge for the team as well as finding time to practice. With all of the other activities in which students participate, it was difficult to schedule things since the other activities are usually mandatory attendance. “We spent many evenings practicing after those other activities, or communicating electronically to get things in order.  We work it out, though. We are resilient!” said Bompiani-Smith.

“In all seriousness, Forensics is one of those activities that people hear about and might even know a little about, but don’t take the time to really investigate.  It really does offer incredible opportunities to network with others locally and across the State, earn scholarships, and build confidence and communication skill,” said Bompiani-Smith.​