Germantown students compete in D.C. tourney
Germantown rising senior Cade Weathersby said he was shocked and incredibly proud of himself for making it to the quarter-finals in the National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL) tournament last month.
“A part of me was very shocked because when you look at it, it’s a national tournament and these kids are the best of the best,” Weathersby said. “Another part of me is incredibly proud because I knew I had it in me. I’ve practiced speech and debate for two years, but I’m still in shock and awe in getting that far.”
Weathersby and three other Germantown students, Ashley Loftin and Julia Lever, took part in the tournament in Washington, D.C. May 28 through May 29, and got to tour the city and see things like the White House.
Gracie Hopt was on the trip but did not compete.
During the tournament, Weathersby competed against other students from around the country in oral interpretation, which involves poetry and prose. In Weathersby’s case, he had to do both at the same time. Loftin and Lever participated in the declamation portion of the tournament.
“Oral interpretation encompasses both prose and poetry, but the NCFL does them together, where you alternate between the two,” Weathersby said. “Poetry has rhythm, and prose is a regular story. My prose was about a young boy who dealt with the death of his brother, and it tackled the importance of family and how things like that happen. The poetry I did was by the man named Michael Lee who talked about his struggles with drug addiction and what people who are addicted go through and the general strength needed to go through that process.”
Weathersby said with this type of event you always get a little nervous, and once you get used to that, you start getting nervous about other things, like how the judge will grade your performance.
He said he felt like you must get nervous about something since that leads to overconfidence, and he is always open to criticism and is willing to provide constructive criticism to his teammates.
“I want to motivate and teach other kids who are just going into speech and debate, as it’s all about teaching others,” Weathersby said. “You have to be open to criticism. At the end of the day, it’s not about me. I wouldn’t have gone as far as I did without my teammates.”
Taylor Hawkins, English instructor and speech and debate co-coach at Germantown, said Weathersby breaking quarter-finals at the tournament made history at Germantown.
“We only had one person break out of three, which was Cade, and I want to specify that it’s very difficult to do that and all of these kids are very talented,” Hawkins said. “I think within the next year or two, they’ll break quarter-finals as well. I am super proud of Cade, he did something that’s never happened at our school and in our team. He works very hard, and he’s probably read his pieces out loud over a hundred times.”
Hawkins said during the trip he and the students got to tour D.C. and met politicians such as Roger Wicker.
“Having the opportunity to allow them to see a large city and explore it in a way they never would’ve been able to otherwise is pretty cool,” Hawkins said. “These are smart, talented kids. We want to put them in positions for success, not just for speech and debate, but for all things in life.”
Cade Weathersby’s father, Max Weathersby, said he is extremely proud of his son.
“Cade started with speech and debate when he was in the ninth grade and he’s been getting better and better every year,” Weathersby said. “It takes a lot of practice, repetition, and participation in the tournaments to improve, and he goes to as many as he can. We appreciate Taylor Hawkins and Sarah O’Hara for helping him and other students with this.”
“They’re finished for the year, so Cade will take a break for the summer, and in the fall, he’ll be right back in it,” he said.
“There’s always next year, I’m going to be a senior,” Cade Weathersby said. “I plan to go to as many tournaments as possible and finish strong. If you are curious about speech and debate and looking for something to do in your middle and high school years, try it out. It’s become a big and influential thing in my life.”