JEFFERSON — The Jefferson High School forensics program was going full steam ahead, with 14 students qualifying for the state tournament, when all school competitions were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That meant no state, and as the weeks of school closures turned into finishing out the year online, that also meant no traditional forensics Parents Night, at which students were to have performed their pieces for a local audience.

Instead, students connected online Monday night through Google Meets for an attenuated forensics awards ceremony.

Awarded senior pins were the following members of the Class of 2020: Talia Bartosch, Osie Dominguz, Avery Eilenfeldt, Alex Ellifson, Yaritza Esteban-Lopez, Reese Gee, Megan Happ, Maddie Ledwitch and Gabby Utrie.

The following students qualified for state competition, which was canceled due to the pandemic: Talia Bartosch and Laura Traver, demonstrations; Francis Watson, “Moments in History”; Valorie Schamens and Cameron Patterson, solo serious acting; Reese Gee, oratory; Nora Wichman, informative presentation; Kate Utrie, solo humorous acting; Rowan Wilson, Alex Ellifson and Ryan Peterson, prose reading; Avery Eilenfeldt and Yaritza Esteban-Lopez, special occasion speeches; Megan Happ, radio newscast; and Gabby Utrie, farrago.

Seven students stepped up to compete in a statewide virtual forensics tournament offered as an option during the school closure. These were Cameron Patterson, Kate Utrie, Gabby Utrie, Megan Happ, Laura Traver, Talia Bartosch and Alex Ellifson.

All did well, and Ellifson received two perfect scores of 25.

Earning the “Rookie of the Year” award for the program was Ryan Peterson.

Earning the “Spirit Award” was Francis Watson.

Most improved awards went to Alex Ellifson and Megan Happ.

Earning “MVP” (for “most valuable performers”) awards were Avery Eilenfeldt, Reese Gee, Gabby Utrie and Talia Bartosch.

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