At Cudahy Middle School the students who are members of the Forensic Team believe that being able to speak in public does give them an advantage not only in school, but in their preparation for high school and life. With support from Mr. Mike Carolan and Mr. Mike Moore the administration team at Cudahy Middle School, the CMS Forensic team has flourished and played host to teams from all over Wisconsin at its annual tournament held in February.
Cudahy Middle School’s forensic team was re-established in 2004 by Mrs. Pam Cullen and Mrs. Marybeth Vinohradsky both 7th grade teachers at the school and co-coaches for the CMS Forensic Team. Both Cullen and Vinohradsky saw the potential for students to not only develop their speaking, and writing skills, but also a way for students to gain confidence. Since 2004, the CMS Forensic Team has strived to provide an opportunity for seventh and eighth grade students to find a category to speak on (there are sixteen possibilities), practice and develop the speech they have chosen, and then compete with other middle school students in festivals or tournaments. These festivals and tournaments are held by members of the Middle Level Forensics Association which membership is open to any school in the state of Wisconsin. Students compete with other students in rounds in which they perform their pieces according to established rules and guidelines. These tournaments and festivals are held all over Wisconsin during the months of January through March. In March a State Meet is held where the top speakers (those students who received a 37 average over the season or a total of 111 point from their 3 top scores) qualify to attend the State Meet. At the State Meet those that qualify compete in a tournament with over 100 schools, and at this year’s meet 1299 students to be the “best of the best”. Awards are given to the best students in each of sixteen categories and also the top teams in 3 or 4 divisions. All students who compete at the state meet receive a “state qualified” ribbon for participation.
This year CMS forensics was able to gain team awards at both the Oak Creek Festival and a 1st place trophy at the Morse Marshall tournament. The 2010-2011 team of 14 was able to send 12 of the fourteen team members to the State meet. At the meet 4 students: Matilda Cretens, Maria Romfoe, Ian Fox, and Cecilia Shoemann received power round medals. In addition to their medals Matilda and Cecilia received 3rd place trophies for their efforts.
Finally, at the State Meet Mrs. Pam Cullen was awarded “Coach of the Year”. This annual award is given each year to the coach that is active and supportive of Middle Level Forensics Association (MLFA), demonstrates high regard and respect for the students she or he coaches, respects and regards fellow coaches within the MLFA with high regard, demonstrates enthusiasm for forensics and the MLFA, and works towards promoting forensics through the strength of their own program. Pam is the president- elect for this organization and will lead as president during the 2011-2012 season.
Upcoming events for the CMS forensics team include: hosting the Spring Business Meeting for the MLFA on May 7th, performances by the state qualified students at the upcoming sixth grade orientation, and coffee shop encore performances which will be held in May. Also, for the second year in a row a summer school course in public speaking will be offered for elementary summer school attendees. This course introduces students, grades 4-6, to public speaking and gives them the opportunity to prepare a piece and perform it during the last week of class. This is a great way for students to get an introduction to forensics and it prepares them for being members of the CMS Forensic team when they attend the middle school.
CMS Forensic is an organization that strives to bring out the best in all youth that join and gives them the opportunity to gain skills that will help them now and in the future.
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