FHS forensics team 2nd in state

Farragut High School forensic team won second place in District IV Tennessee High School Speech and Drama League event at FHS March 29-30. Kneeling, from left, are theater teacher/forensics advisor Tony Wooley and team members Baylee Bumbico, Kyra Harmon and Anna Grace Gragg. Second row, from left, are Grace Bass, Pierce Torano, Varsha Babu, Caroline Butler, Sydney Daresta, Heather Bohan, Sophia Cook, Hannah Liske, Morgan White, Mason Thurnauer and Ryan Franqui. Third row, from left, are Cecilia Lovelace, Jack Barnett, Lexie Blanchard, Hunter Hoffman, Paula Morris, Abigail McCarter, Emily Bannow, Madison Hullett and Ethan Gossage.
Farragut High School’s forensics team made its mark at District IV Tennessee High School Speech and Drama League’s competition at FHS Friday and Saturday, March 29-30, winning second place overall.

“We got to host this year,” said forensics faculty advisor/coach Tony Wooley, a FHS theater teacher. “We had approximately 120 kids competing in various events.

“I’m very excited that (the FHS team) won, but I’ve told them since day one it’s not my goal to have them win — obviously trophies are nice, winning is nice — but forensics is competitive, and it is not the person who scores the most points who wins that sort-of competition,” Wooley said. “We do it because the kids have a passion and love for theater; it’s a wonderful outlet for their craft; and it helps them to better themselves, both educationally and as individuals.

“I hope that it challenges them to find the best them that they can find,” he said, but then added, “We’re hoping to be more competitive next year.”

District champions, Varsha Babu, who won first place for impromptu speaking, and Maddie Hullet, first place for solo acting, led the team to the overall win.

They will advance to the state tournament along with Lexie Blanchard, fourth place in after-dinner speaking; Hunter Hoffman, second place for humorous interpretation and fourth place for impromptu speaking; Sydney Daresta, fourth place for impromptu speaking; Abigail McCarter, third place for informative speaking; Paula Morris in storytelling; and Cecilia Lovelace, TV broadcasting.

Caroline Butler and Emily Bannow, who won sixth place for improv duet acting, and Blanchard made the All-Star cast in interp theater. Charlie Becker won Best Actor for improv duet acting, and Kyra Harmon earned sixth place for improv duet acting.

In one-act play, Hoffman, Jordan Banks, Pierce Torano, Jack Barnett made All-Star Cast, and Ethan Gossage, a senior, won Best Actor out of three one-act productions.

“It was great,” he said.

Wooley also was a winner, chosen as Coach of the Year at the competition. “I’m very, very lucky with the kids I have,” he said.

about his win. “When we were first doing ‘Of Mice and Men,’ Mr. Wooley wanted me for the part of Lennie.

“I know the part of Lennie was very challenging due to his mental disability, but it was a great role,” he added.

Still, Gossage said he was surprised he won.

“It was emotional,” he said. “It was very awesome.”

“I believe they gave me this honor because they saw what I did at my old school and taught forensics in District V, and this is only my second year (at FHS and) in District IV.

“It’s not really me growing the program, it’s the kids.”

Wooley said students who participate in forensics learn “all the things you would learn in speech and theater acting but we take it to competition.

“(Forensics) is just an activity that is excellent for the growth of the students, and it gives the opportunity for a lot of students to work on multiple, different avenues of their talent.

“This year, we went to 10 different tournaments throughout the course of the year, and the kids did it totally on a voluntary basis,” Wooley said.