PMHS forensics speech team wins big in fully virtual competition


Pelham Memorial High School had a solid showing at its last all-virtual forensics speech competition, with the team winning three awards in two of the seven categories it participated in.  

The Emily Clemente Tournament was held via Google Meet on December 5.  The event was held by Ursuline starting at 9:15 am.  Pelham’s team is in the NYCFL division, meaning rival schools are primarily located in New York City and Westchester County.  Forensics speech allows participants to choose from a variety of categories in speech and drama, and then compete against other contestants with similar interests. 

The high school team dominated the congress category, where students debate pieces of legislature. Freshman Spencer Conrad succeeded in winning 1st place in this category. Issac Lief, also a freshman, won third in the same category.  Junior Ulysses Conrad won 3rd in his own event.  “I participated in the Senate category, which is the congress category for 11th and 12th graders,” said Conrad. “We debate bills in parliamentary procedures.”   

Keeping with the theme of 2020, current forensics speech meets look different than those of past years.  Participants now see each other through screens instead of face to face and in front of an audience.  While this new style reduces the stress of transportation, the experience is not the same.  The greatest challenge of the virtual model for Ulysses was “being able to understand the speakers” due to mic quality. 

One of many differences during the competition was the virtual awards ceremony. Victors joined a separate meet for their category and waved when their name was announced.  Spectators were allowed to watch the celebration on a separate meet link. 

Despite the year’s harrowing circumstances, PMHS forensics speech will continue to attend virtual competitions throughout the school year. The team will next compete in the Regis tournament on December 19.