Loy Norrix forensics reaches success after a year of preparation and encourages others to join the club


Credit: Meg Elfring

Forensics team members accept their trophy at the MIPA conference. Many team members attribute their success to the amount of preparation done prior to the events.

Foster Neve-Jones, Assistant Web Editor and Knights Speak

Watching someone stand on stage in front of dozens of people, performing a speech or a presentation or even an entire story made up on the spot, you rarely think about how much work went into the piece being performed in front of you, but often the preparation is the most interesting part.

On Feb. 28 and 29, the Loy Norrix forensics team competed in the MIFA (Michigan Interscholastic Forensics Association) high school state finals with 22 students, 19 of which made it to the semi-finals of the tournament.

The team had an incredibly successful year prior to the state tournament, with multiple students making it to the finals consistently in the various competitions throughout the school year.

Forensics is a competition where students perform in different speaking events in front of a panel of judges, who grade them using a complex scoring system, resulting in their placement in the overall competition.

After months of hard work and preparation to make the best piece that they can, the effort was worth it, with six LN students making it to the final competition event of MIFA.

Each of the 22 students spent the past few months writing, polishing and performing their presentations in various other local invitationals. These pieces range from public address pieces, featuring a speech that the students write themselves, or dramatic interpretation where students pull from various media to create a performance. Because of the variety of competitions, each student had their own unique challenges.                    

“The events that [the students] compete in are very individual,” said forensics coach Daniel Lafferty. “Depending on the event, there are different kinds of preparation; for example, impromptu events, you just get a topic and you have one minute to prepare.”

Loy Norrix senior Meg Elfring hadn’t decided on her event when MIFA announced a new event, Program Oral Interpretation (POI), where you combine several different parts from different sources – whether that be poetry, scripts, or prose – into a single performed presentation.

“They announced this new category, and I was like, this sounds ridiculous, who would want to do this? And then I decided to do it,” said Elfring, who ended up taking first place in the POI event at the state competition.

The amount of work that students put in is up to them, but according to coach Lafferty, the work pays off, as the students that work the hardest often end up with the best performances at states.

“Braeden Davis and Yacine Lo were a duo [last year]. I don’t think I saw anyone practicing as much as them, and they ended up getting the state championship,” said Lafferty.

The hours of work and time practicing, make it all worth it.

The preparation definitely does pay off.

— Meg Elfring

“The preparation definitely does pay off,” said Elfring. “Once you get to the finals group that’s all people that put a lot of effort in and who care, so getting to that is a reflection of your preparation.”

The forensic team shares a tight bond, sharing creative criticism and helping each other improve their performance pieces for the various tournaments. Even more than that, forensics is fun, as sophomore Bjorn Nelson, a first year competitor in the Oratory competition said.

“I’m really happy with the program as a whole,” Nelson said. “I’d recommend that if you wanted to do it, do it. It’s not as huge of a time commitment as people think.”

Coach Lafferty shares a similar sentiment, “I would say that it is a super-fun group. There’s a ton of different events – it can seem intimidating – but it’s really fun.” Lafferty continued, “I’d recommend if you’re interested, definitely come out next year when we have our team informational meeting or auditions.”