Forensics Competition Showcases KPBSD Talent!

“What is Forensics?” We are not talking about science or crime lab stuff like you see on CSI— this kind of forensics has to do with public speaking, oration and debate. Students from ten KPBSD schools traveled to Tustumena Elementary on Saturday, March 1, 2014, to recite poetry and prose, present interpretative readings, or deliver story telling in front of an audience of judges and parents. This was not a spur of the moment decision, but the culmination of weeks or months of preparation and practice by fourth through sixth grade students and elementary staff all across our district.

Why do we take time out of our busy teaching schedule to work on forensics? The positive benefits of public speaking have been well documented. Besides the fact that forensics can be fun, it can also increase student self-esteem, promote leadership skills, increase communication skills, provide a outlet for creative expression, and increase student understanding and connection to literature. Over 95% of students that participate on high school speech and debate teams go on to a college education. Many colleges and universities also give scholarships to students who participate and do well in this extracurricular activity because employers are often seeking workers with good communication skills. Of all of these excellent reasons for students to practice and learn forensic skills, one of the most important reasons might be that these skills can help them throughout the rest of their lives; at work, at home, and in the community.  

The elementary school forensics competition process starts with 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students choosing a piece of literature to present. These pieces must be between one to five minutes long and can be performed by a single student or by a group of two or more together. After choosing whether to present a poem, prose, a short story or reader’s theater, the students must research the author’s intent and try to convey that meaning with their tone of voice, inflection and movements. Shorter pieces must be memorized, which builds strong recall skills. After working on their pieces, students compete in a class-wide competition. Students with high enough scores move on to compete at a school level competition. These students are judged by three judges and only the best go on to compete at the annual district-wide competition. At this competition, students once again present their pieces and are judged against a rubric designed for their age group and category. First, second, and third place ribbons are awarded to the top performers in each category. This is an opportunity for students to receive recognition for their hard work and dedication. It is truly remarkable to watch the level of poise and sophistication of these top performers.

This 2014 district-wide forensics competition is over, but you shouldn’t feel left out. Next year’s competition is just around the corner, it will be held February 28, 2015, at Tustumena Elementary.  Remember, it is never too early to start looking for a good piece of literature to practice and present! And, it’s a wonderful spectator event for parents, friends, and the community.

-Joellen Fowler and Lisa Gossett


Congratulations to 94 students from the ten competing schools! First place winners:

  • Humorous Poetry, Grade 4; Cayden Kelly, Redoubt Elementary
  • Humorous Prose, Grade 4; Melita Efta, Aurora Borealis Charter School
  • Humorous Prose, Grade 5; Erika Arthur, Redoubt Elementary
  • Humorous Prose, Grade 6; Brooke Belluomini, Redoubt Elementary
  • Story Telling, Grade 4; Bailey Epperheimer, Aurora Borealis Charter School
  • Story Telling, Grade 5; Cody Bryden, Moose Pass
  • Story Telling, Grade 6; Cameron Blackwell, Redoubt Elementary
  • Interpretive reading, Grade 4; Brandiee Bowers, K-Beach Elementary
  • Interpretive Reading, Grade 5; Emmet Wilkinson, McNeil Canyon Elementary
  • Interpretive Reading, Multi/Grade 4; Caitlyn Corrigan, Athena Smith, Joshua Delacruz, Seward Elementary
  • Non-Humorous Prose, Grade 4; Shelbie Naylor, Aurora Borealis Charter
  • Interpretive Reading, Multi/Grade 6; Elena Dimitrovski, Whitney Benson, Redoubt Elementary
  • Prose, Multi/Grade 5; Nick Katsma, Lucas Brockman, Seward Elementary
  • Humorous Poetry, Grade 5; Tegan Retzer, Seward Elementary
  • Humorous Poetry, Grade 6; Lindy Guernsey, Moose Pass
  • Non-Humorous Prose, Grade 5; Kaytee Hackett, Tustumena Elementary
  • Non-Humorous Prose, Grade 6; Andrew Fletcher, Redoubt Elementary
  • Non-Humorous Poetry Grade 4; Simon Graham, Redoubt Elementary
  • Non-Humorous Poetry Grade 5; Matthew Grzybowski, MountainView Elementary
  • Non-Humorous Poetry Grade 6; Korrin Nyren, Tustumena
  • Interpretive Reading, Multi/Grade 4; Rollin Madden, Atlee Turner, Sterling Elementary
  • Interpretive Reading, Multi/Grade 5; Kalei Biamonte, Travis VanCurler, Kyle Malston, Nikiski North Star
  • Interpretive Reading Grade 6; Shannon Yeskie, Redoubt Elementary
  • Prose, Multiple/Grade 4; Rowan Bean, Dilliana Mullings, Destiny Walker, Seward Elementary and Tristan Summers, Michael Torkelson, Aurora Borealis Charter School
  • Poetry Multiple/Grade 4; Emylee Wilson, Elora Olson, K-Beach Elementary
  • Poetry Multiple/ Grade 5; Connor Koppes, Cassidy King, K-Beach Elementary
  • Poetry Multiple/Grade 6; Kyrsten Johnson-Gray, Priscilla Stoltz, Seward Elementary

Thank you to all the students in KPBSD schools who competed, the many volunteers, and Tustumena Elementary School for hosting the event!

KPBSD Facebook Logo 2013 SML