• Second time a charm for Truman forensics duo

  • When Tara Williams and Michael Cohen decided to compete at duet acting, it was not with hopes of becoming national champions.

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  • When Tara Williams and Michael Cohen decided to compete at duet acting, it was not with hopes of becoming national champions.
    Although they finished third in duo interpretation during the 2012 national tournament of the National Forensics League, the piece they used this year didn't have the same impact. At both district and state competition earlier this spring, they did not even make it out of the preliminary rounds.
    “We didn’t expect to do well,” said Williams, a senior at Truman High School. “So when we won, we were really surprised.”
    Williams and Cohen placed first at the NIETOC competition May 11 in San Antonio, Texas, becoming national champions in the event. In addition, Cohen placed second in humorous interpretation and received the Perfect Performance Award for the all-tournament Individual Performance Sweepstakes. Kelsey Shoup placed 15th in humorous interpretation.
    “I was really happy last year when I placed in the top 24, and my goal was to do better this year, which I did," said the Truman High School junior. “This competition is a lot more chill than others. We have more free time for the workshops and other things they offer. It’s a lot of fun.”
    The NIETOC is a bid-only tournament in which students earn the right to compete at the NIETOC by placing at select tournaments throughout the United States.
    Cohen said he felt good about his performance in both duet acting and humorous interpretation. He said he knew this would be his last competition in that category, so he had fun.
    “This was the last time I would ever be performing in HI on stage, so I did whatever I wanted,” said Cohen, who will be attend The Theater School at DePaul University this fall. “It was a really fun opportunity to just leave it all out on the stage.”
    As for receiving the Perfect performance Award, Cohen said he was “shocked.” The award is given to one student who has accumulated the most points during the entire tournament. He said he did not put “two and two” together until the award presentations were almost over.
    “It was a very surprising and very humbling moment,” he said. “I went into high school forensics setting the most unrealistic goals and learned the true meaning of work ethic. I know I will carry on those lessons into the future.”
    Williams, who is attending the University of Missouri-Kansas City this fall as a communications/theater major, said she felt like she used “every ounce” of her potential during the last four years and would not change anything about her time at Truman.
    “It felt bittersweet to be competing for the last time in a finals round at a national tournament. It felt right, though. It felt like we were having fun the whole way through,” she said about her performance with Cohen. “I will miss the connection with all of the great people in the squad. That relationships have been amazing.”

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