MHS juniors place third at Forensics district

By Jonathan Mapilisan | Artist

Few would believe that a prestigious congressman and a flamboyant elf could make a successful pair, but for juniors Nathan Fox and Michael Stephens, they make a dynamic duo.

The two are dual interpretation partners on the Marshfield Forensics team and are most known for their Interpretive Duo “008”by Herb Dunken, which they performed at the winter assembly.

“007 is killed on a mission, and 008 is centered around this dilemma,” Stephens said. “It’s about the selection process of the new agent. Unfortunately, the new agent is terrible.”

Stephens joined the Forensics team as a self-professed quiet freshman in hopes of continuing the legacy set by his brother, Jeff Stephens. His initial role required him to perform parliamentary debates, which emulate parliamentary procedures in England. During his sophomore

year, however, Stephens began to shift his attention towards humorous interpretations.

“I started my sophomore year by performing parliamentary debates, but my partner could no longer be on the team due to schedule conflicts,” Stephens said. “I was too bashful and shy my freshman year despite wanting to try humorous interpretations, but I decided to give it a try.”

Fox began debating his freshman year, because of his older sister, Jessica Fox, the debate team captain at the time. Fox began by performing humorous interpretations and has continued them throughout his high school career. Alongside this role, Fox joined Stephens as interpretive duo partners their junior year.

“At times, we don’t always get our work done,” Stephens said. “But for the most part, we work really well together.”

Fox said Stephens also helps keep him on task.

“I have a habit of procrastinating practice,” Fox said. “But most of the time we’ll get right down to business. If not, Michael can always get me back on track one way or another.”

As of this year, Fox and Stephens have competed in several tournaments, placing well in many, including first place at Willamette and third at the district tournament in Bandon.

“Although we didn’t make it to state, I still feel we did really well,” Fox said. “We only missed it by three speaker points, which is like nothing in Forensics.”

Like all Forensics events, their fates ultimately rest with the judges.

“The hardest part of Forensics is the judges,” Fox said. “You don’t win because you’re well practiced like in a usual sport. You can train to run, shoot, pass and throw, and that will affect your tournament score, but when it comes to Forensics, it’s definitely the judge’s preference. That’s why our humor needs to be universal.”

Fox and Stephens each participated individually in the state competition, which was held at Western Oregon University on April 19 and 20. Fox was declared a semi-finalist in his humorous interpretation, placing first in alternate finals ranking him eighth in Oregon.

“I’m really glad I placed so well,” Fox said. “There was some really tough competition.”

Stephens did not place in Student Congress, an event in which students debate as if they were in Congress, but said he still enjoyed participating in the competition.

“It was a good learning experience for me,” Stephens said. “What did I learn? Never do Student Congress.”

Fox and Stephens both said they have grown through their experiences in Forensics, and Stephens said he enjoys watching others grow as well.

“It’s a blast seeing everyone completely change,” Stephens said. “Seeing seemingly shy people turning completely outrageous and seeing everyone else’s pieces is really fun as well as traveling to all the different places.”

The pair encourages others to join the team whether one is completely outgoing or extremely timid.

“If there’s anyone that feels like they’re too shy, I just want you to know that I’ve been there, I was a shy little freshman too,” Stephens said. “Now I’m much more outgoing and I attribute it all to Forensics. If you want to learn how to speak well and have an excuse to act crazy in front of people, join Forensics.”