Forensic Flashback




Words on the wall know the score.

I had the opportunity recently to judge a high school forensics meet. No, there are no bodies, no ballistics to study or fibers to test. As a matter of fact, it’s about as far as you can get from a police procedural drama as you can get. In this case, forensics is a speech competition where students participate in different categories like interpretation, extemporaneous, and my favorite category, informative.


That’s right, I competed in high school and in college. I loved it, in a masochistic kind of way. You stand up in front of six or eight students and a judge who listened to your speech/performance and rank you against the other people in the round. Considering most people are not fans of public speaking, doing it for fun and competition makes you a special kind of strange. Or at least a special kind of attention seeker.

It was really exciting for me to be back at a meet as a judge (I judged a bit while I was in college too), and I was surprised at just how familiar it all was. It’s been….let’s leave it at a while, shall we…since I was competing, or judging for that matter. But the nervous energy when you walk into the room is the same (whether you’re a competitor or judge). The pieces were different – we would have had points taken off for four-letter words when I competed, but the feeling was the same.20170129_174823

I didn’t realize how much I missed it. Okay, I encouraged my daughter to join her HS team this year, and I helped her work on her piece, but I didn’t realize how much I missed being part of the competitions. Was it nostalgia? Probably. But it was also the love of performing, competing, watching your fellow competitors get better and better (and maybe hoping  just a little that they would get a case of brain freeze), and the feeling of being in a cafeteria or auditorium in a school somewhere filled with people just as excited and nervous as you.

The good news is that I’ve been asked back to judge another competition – I’m not saying when or where to try to keep things fair. But I’m really looking forward to it.

Tell Me a Story Tuesday — Back to School Edition


With last week’s record breaking response to Tell me a Story Tuesday, I thought we would do it again this week. Since September means school bells are ringing far and wide, let’s talk about going back to school.

For some people back to school brought fear and tummy aches. For some it brought excitement and fun. For others it meant the end of freedom and what the start of basically a jail sentence. What did going back to school mean to you? Do you have any back to school stories?

I don’t have a back to school story as much as a NOT back to school story….

Conemaugh Township Area Middle/High School

Conemaugh Township Area Middle/High School

My freshman year of high school the teachers went on strike. It sounds like most kids’ dreams, no school for 6 weeks. But we knew that it meant we’d be going to school for weeks next summer in a school that doesn’t have air conditioning. It also could have meant that we didn’t get to take part in any extra curricular activities that fall and potentially not be prepared for those in the winter because nearly every sport and activity was coached or sponsored by a teacher.

I was in the school’s competitive marching band, we went to the school board along with the other fall activities to ask to be allowed to continue during the strike with non-teacher supervision. Shockingly they allowed it and while we couldn’t go to school we could practice and compete and loose football games every week, just like any other year.

There a lot of little stories that come out of those weeks..The band director and one of the assistant directors, who was also a teacher, were forbidden by both the school and the union to have anything to do with us “sneaking” into competitions wearing hats and sunglasses and then the band sneaking behind buildings just before we were to compete, as best a marching band can sneak anywhere….then there was the tuba player who got so wrapped up in the picketing that he started his own – first walking around with a sign on guard member’s flag pole that said, “Make love not war!” He came back a few minutes later with a sign reading, “Make TEA not Love!”

Even though we weren’t in school, I learned a lot those first few weeks of the school year. I learned about having to depending on and trust the people I was working with. I learned about conflict resolution and negotiation and that no one gets everything they want. But if you put the best interest of the people you’re supposed to be helping first then you’ll find a way to work things out. 

So now it’s your turn. Use the comments section below to tell me a story. It doesn’t have to be long, it doesn’t have to be good. Just tell me something that happened to you at the beginning of the school year. Don’t forget to follow the rules. Class is back in session – I can’t wait to hear about it!


Tell Me a Story Tuesday — Last Day of School Edition


It’s that time of year again, the end of school. My children are among the rare bread that cry because school is over for the summer, so we rarely hear about pranks or fun on the last day. Mostly it’s just a phone call to Mommy at work crying about having to wait whole months to go back to school.

I myself enjoyed the break summer provided. And, being the good girl I was raised to be, did not partake of any last day of school prankery. I was witness, and victim of, several epic water gun battles on school buses and paper products decorating hallways on the way out the door.

What about you? Did you cry on the last day of school because you were going to miss it? Did you get in an awesome prank before the bell rang (feel free to change names to protect the guilty if the statute of limitations hasn’t expired yet)? This is your chance to share you’re last day of school memories.

Let’s hear it…tell me a story….

*Standard T.M.A.S.T. rules apply*