FARMER'S KORNER - In "Naked," a collection of autobiographical essays by humorist David Sedaris, the author pushes what some would consider the envelope of good taste as he describes memories of his grandmother's senility, childhood experiences of obsessive-compulsive disorder and, in the chapter "Cyclops," his father's story of accidentally blinding a little boy.This is not humor for the faint of heart. Summit High School freshman Chloe King was up to the challenge, though, when she performed the piece about the one-eyed child Saturday at the National Forensic League's national speech and debate qualifying tournament in Golden. "I did it as a humorous piece, but it's really gruesome," she said. "It's gruesome in a funny way."
The judges agreed, and named King one of the two Summit High students to qualify for the organization's national tournament, to be held in June in Dallas. "It's rare for a freshman to qualify for nationals," Summit High debate coach Emily Campbell said. The contrast between King's innocent facade and the grisly nature of the essay gave extra power to the performance, the coach added."Physically, she's small, but her performance was big," she said. "Everything about how she performed was surprising."
Senior Jillian Rowley also qualified for Dallas in the student congress category. In student congress, competitors assume the roles of political representatives. Judges choose semi-finalists based on their assessment of performance, but the competitors themselves elect the final winners."Jillian's qualifying was really impressive because she was the only person (in the congress competition) from our school this year," Campbell said. "That shows they really respected her." Campbell credits Rowley's ability to see both sides of an issue for her success in the political category."She's really astute," the coach said, "and she has a very good analytical mind."
Campbell was enthusiastic about the team's overall showing. Only two students in each event qualified for nationals at the competition, and, in addition to Rowley and King, Kate Wrobel and Emily Adams came close with top-five finishes in their respective categories."A lot of our top performers didn't compete," Campbell said. "The kids we did take were the ones that showed dedication throughout the year. They deserved to be there."Harriet Hamilton can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13624, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.