Speech Forensics: North Forsyth’s Newest Core Elective


: Senior Jessica Dickey stands in front of her fifth period class, Speech Forensics, to deliver a speech on “what makes her, ‘her’.”

Natalie Wilson, Associative Editor

Along with the many additions (good and bad) to North Forsyth this year, Mrs. McConnell introduces Speech Forensics, a class focused on turning students into better public speakers. Interested in her intentions for the course, Mrs. McConnell and I discussed how she plans to turn her students into great presenters, and why she thinks public speaking is important to conquer:

WILSON: How would you define the term, “Speech Forensics”?

MCCONNELL: A lot of students have asked me where the “forensics” part of Speech Forensics comes in, and I think it is important for students to understand that you must have an understanding of a topic before you present it. Nearly all of our formal presentations this year will require students to inquire what they plan on talking about, including our weekly impromptus.

Given this is a new course, what sort of plans do you have for the standards?

I have been structuring this course as it goes along, and right now, I hope to focus on teaching students the qualities of a good presenter. By repeating these important skills, they will eventually overcome any fears they have of presenting in front of an audience. Facing their fears will allow them to grow, but I also want to keep things comfortable.

So, would you say a comfortable atmosphere is an important part of this class?

Absolutely. I do want to push students out of their shell a little bit, but I also want them to feel safe. I want these kids to love Speech Forensics and to tell their friends about how they should sign up for it next year.

Would you like to see more than one semester of this class next year?

Well, with Speech being such a specific topic, it would be hard to run a year-long class, but if North could offer two separate one-semester classes, I definitely think it would draw in more students and allow me, as a teacher, to perfect the standards.

What are your personal feelings towards Speech Forensics?

I really enjoy this course; I do struggle sometimes coming up with different, valuable lesson plans for each day, but I think it is so necessary for students to grasp public speaking. Nearly every college degree requires you to take a speech class before you graduate, but presenting is a skill that you will take with you beyond college. It is an asset you will take along with you in nearly any career you choose.


Mrs. McConnell went on to emphasize how important it was to her to motivate students to share this class with the rest of the school, and how she is excited to see how the rest of this semester unfolds. With her blatant dedication, Speech Forensics is destined to grow.