Saturday, March 24, 2007


OK, I'm not that cool... I copied the post title from my nephew's blog. Go on over there and you can read all about the competitions in which he has been participating as a member of the Forensics Team at his high school.

I got to see him and his friend, Rachel, perform this past Wednesday evening in a competition held at our high school. It turned out that they were the only 2 students competing in the "oratory" category, which is doing a speech on a topic of their choice, trying to persuade people of their opinion.

The teacher that leads the forensics team explained that oratory is more difficult, so she wasn't surprised that the teams from the other schools didn't have a participant. It worked out well for Mike & Rachel because they automatically progress to the next level, which is regionals, I think... but I'm not sure.

Here are the 2 of them right after their performances.

I'm not sure if "performance" is the proper terminology, but it fits. Their speeches were both excellent, and how they did them was amazing. As I understand it, the judges look for a great deal of drama, and everything counts, from the use of their voice, pitch and volume, pauses, hand movements, use of the floor, how they walk about... everything.

Rachel went first, and her talk about child obesity in America was very moving. Since this was my first time watching an event like this, I was not prepared for the dramatic presentation. It was wild.

Then Michael did his speech on the minimum wage and its affect on the economy. Oh my heck! First of all, I was beyond impressed at the content of his speech... it was very thought-provoking, and it showed an insight on a topic that was clearly well researched and very mature... to a point one would not normally expect from a 16-year-old high school junior.

In his speech, Michael mentioned, of course not in the following exact words, having a job working at an ice cream joint at a local mall making minimum wage. Long story, short - he quit then went back to work there after the minimum wage had been increased. The first thing he noticed was an increase of 30 cents for an item. When he asked the manager, he was told they had to increase their prices because they had to pay their employees more because minimum wage went up. So who pays the price? You and me, baby.

Mike took that experience and wrote this amazing speech about the effect of minimum wage on our nation's economy. My nephew is one smart dude, and I am so proud of him. I could never have done what he did the other night... first, writing such an impressive speech, then memorizing it (and it was long, too!), and then putting it all together with all the things you have to think about with your voice, hands, feet, all of it. Then doing all that in front of judges. Pretty darn impressive.

Rachel took 1st & Mike 2nd, but the judge said she wished she could give them both 1st. I think it likely that Rachel got 1st because she was very much more dramatic than Michael. Which isn't really fair, when you think about it. If Mike had done his speech with that profound flair of drama, well... I think he would have looked a little gay. Not that there is anything wrong with that. But for a 16-year-old guy who is straight, acting in anyway "gay" (especially in high school) is kind of asking too much, if you know what I mean. Some guys could probably do that, I suppose, but I think most could not. And Mike is the tall, smart, strong & silent type. By silent, I mean not given to much silliness. Coz he does talk a lot, & he's a good conversationalist. I think that is one reason I was so amazed at his speech, and how much passion he put into its rendition. I was blown away.

Mike is definitely 1st in my book!

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