RANDOLPH, NJ- Talent, perseverance and friendship were some of the themes during Tuesday night’s end-of-year RHS Forensics banquet, sponsored by the Parents Booster Association. About 85 guests gathered at Cinders Restaurant for the event, which marked the end of the forensics season and celebrated the accomplishments of speech and debate students.
Addressing the audience, Principal Debbie Iosso said that Forensics members were among Randolph’s most accomplished students. Humanities Supervisor Ben Horwitz echoed that sentiment. Horwitz, who had previously served as Forensics Head Coach, commended the students for choosing such a valuable endeavor, which not only teaches speaking skills, but incredible life skills as well.
Peter Quinn, Randolph’s Head Coach, beamed with pride when addressing the entire team, saying that he loved each and every student like he would his own child. Mr. Quinn presented the seniors with honor cords to wear at graduation (Forensics is an honor society). He also distributed pins from the National Forensics League and recognitions from the National Speech and Debate Association, each with varying degrees of distinction based upon participation in tournaments and successes over the years.
Debate Coach Kristin Poff, who began her coaching career at Randolph in September, said she hoped that her own children might grow up to become the fine young adults whom she coached this year.
Outgoing senior officers Kara Sevola (President), Emily Wang (VP-Debate), Rachel Loia (VP-Speech), and Brie Borruso (VP-Public Forum) shared their memories of fun, friendships, challenges, and personal growth from their years on the team. Consistently, the students described how the lessons they learned through forensics surpassed any single win during a round or any trophy awarded at the conclusion of a tournament. Incoming President Amy Pu said that she was poised and ready to carry the team forward next year.
The audience was treated to a performance by senior Abby McElroy, whose solo piece “Mad Science” explored the public’s understanding of science and scientific concepts. Abby wrote the piece in about a week, but has been refining it all year long. Seniors Alyssa Spagnuolo and Noah Taylor also performed. The pair had the audience rapt with their performance of “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium”, a piece about the relationship between an aged, eccentric toy store owner and the young lady to whom Mr. Magorium entrusts his magical shop.
For six Forensics students, the season is not yet over. Five speech and one debate student qualified for national tournaments this year. Speech students earned spots based upon results from Catholic Forensic League tournaments held throughout the school year, while debate qualified based upon the results of the New Jersey District Competition.
RHS will send the following speech competitors to the NCFL Grand National tournament in Sacramento, CA: Alyssa Spagnuolo and Noah Taylor (Duo Interpretation) and Bryn Bennett, Caitlyn Dempsey, and Rachel Loia (each competing in Oral Interpretation). On the Debate side, Lincoln Douglas debater Harry Kern will compete as part of a team with four other debaters in the World Schools Debate Tournament at NSDA Nationals in Salt Lake City, Utah.