Forensics Team Competes Despite Pandemic


Photo by Claudia Brown Ms. Michelle Kochan (right) is joined on the CHS forensics team coaching staff by her mother, Mrs. Kathy Kochan. Ms. Josephine Annelin (not pictured) is also a new forensics coach this year.

Karin Juhl

In a normal year, the CHS forensics team would be in the middle of their season, traveling to other schools to perform their spoken pieces. Of course, this year is a little different. But even with the pandemic, the forensics team is still able to have virtual meets, which has some pros and cons.

Members of the forensics team prepare a written piece, such as a speech, skit or reading and then perform it. Their performances are scored out of 25 points, and feedback is given to the student. Additionally, if the student gets a high enough score — each round is scored separately — they will advance to the next level of competition.

     This year, there are three levels: subdistrict, district and state. The conference meet was optional.

Since meets are all virtual, students aren’t able to travel to other schools or watch others perform. Instead, each person records their piece, and the video is then submitted. Judges score the performance, and feedback is sent back to the students about their performance, including if they advanced to the next level of competition.

     Junior Sadie Bartels, a member of the team competing in the Group Interpretive category this year, said she misses meeting participants from other schools in-between performances, which is one of her favorite parts of forensics. Regarding the new restrictions, I am not a fan of them, but I am appreciative that we can still perform in a safe manner,” she said.

The good thing about submitting videos is that students are able to submit their best “take.” This year, students only submit one video to be judged three times, instead of performing three times like in previous years.

Additionally, virtual students are able to participate, and if someone is quarantined, they can just film their performance at home.

Junior Rachel Disher, another team member competing in the Farrago category, chose to be virtual this year, but is still able to participate. “Forensics from home isn’t much different from forensics at school,” she said. “I really like the flexibility that digital forensics offers. I am able to record on my own time, so I can plan around my after-school meetings and other extracurriculars.”

This year, the forensics team has three coaches. One is Ms. Michelle Kochan, the high school band teacher, who has coached forensics before. There are two new coaches: Ms. Josephine Annelin, the high school choir teacher, and Mrs. Kathy Kochan, who happens to be Ms. Kochan’s mother.

“I wanted to coach because I always loved doing forensics myself,” Mrs. Kochan said. She felt her years in forensics were very valuable and helped prepare her for future jobs. “I’m excited to work with my daughter and the students Ms. Kochan talks so highly about.”

Subdistrict videos were submitted on February 12, and the team has received their scores and feedback. The entire forensics team has advanced to the district meet.

Videos for district were due March 12. Students needed at least one score of 16 or higher to advance to district and will need at least one score of 21 or

higher at district to qualify for state.