Facing Their Fears of Public Speaking



The 2020 DAHS Forensics Team

Jenna Voegeli, Reporter

Public speaking. How many of you just got shivers? Public speaking is hated by many and dreaded by more. What will people think? What if I fail? These are the thoughts that commonly run through peoples’ heads when they think of speaking in front of others. Would you believe that some people face this fear on purpose? Forensics may terrify you – if you’ve even heard of it. Forensics is a club that focuses on public speaking. Or at least, that’s what the main goal is supposed to be. Forensics has tournaments almost every Saturday, January through April. At the tournaments, the team performs practiced pieces in front of five or so strangers and a judge, three times each tournament. Teams have a variety of solo pieces, group pieces, memorized, non-memorized, prose, poetry, moments in history, storytelling, radio, and so many more. There is a category for everyone.

So you might be thinking, why would you sign up for a club to face a fear that over 75% of the population has? Turns out that facing your fears isn’t always the main reason. “My favorite thing about Forensics was hanging out with the team between rounds, especially by playing Egyption rat poker,” Cassidy Schnell says. Cassidy has dominated Forensics on many accounts and actually started with the very common fear of public speaking. “I was afraid of public speaking my freshman year: I would have shaky legs in English class giving presentations. Being exposed to public speaking so often in Forensics, that fear went away.” She claims that after conquering this fear she was able to “speak at homecoming in front of the whole school, as well as at graduation which was about 3,000 people.” 

Kaylin Nesbitt also agrees, “I actually joined Forensics because I was afraid of public speaking and wanted to get over it.” She just “made herself do it over and over again until the fear naturally went away.” Kaylin Nesbitt was last year’s state champion in poetry.

What if that fear doesn’t go away? Maria Olvera, another Forensics team member, admits, “I’m afraid of public speaking. I take comfort in the fact that I will probably never see the people I’m performing in front of ever again.”

Sure, public speaking is a completely normal fear, but hasn’t it been said you have to face your fears? What better way than competition and getting the chance to win awards for it? That is exactly the chance Forensics offers high school students.

“Just make sure you don’t fall on the stage when you go up to receive your award,”  jokes Max Loeck… from personal experience.