From Southeast Kansas to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida: Q&A with forensicator Mikayla Kitchen

Story by Journey Jaramillo, Managing Editor

Photo by: Julie Laflen, contributed
Sophomore Mikayla Kitchen qualified for nationals for the first time in her high school career. 

This year, 14 PHS forensicators and debaters qualified for the National Speech and Debate (NSDA) tournament in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida — the largest group of students in school history. Sophomore Mikayla Kitchen qualified in “humorous interpretation,” a 10-minute long comical acting monologue. In an interview with the Booster Redux, she answers questions about the upcoming trip, experience and fundraising: 

What were your steps in working your way to Nationals?

For Nationals, last year I watched a lot of pieces and I researched a lot of good pieces and what it takes to be good. So, I got a good piece and I practiced so much. I practiced and performed it for everyone I knew, and I asked everyone’s opinions and asked about little nit-picky things and learned from what that feedback and applied it when I did the piece again. I did it a lot of times.

What was going through your head right before you presented your piece?

I was not predicting that I was going to qualify for Nationals. I had been doing good all season, but there were people who had been doing better this season, and so I figured I was just going to go in there and try to make it to finals. That was kind of just my goal, but when I made it into finals and I got third, it kind of dawned on me that this could be a possibility. Then, I went in with the mentality that if I qualify that’s cool, and if I don’t, that’s fine, and just leave it all out there.

What are you looking forward to at Nationals?

The experience. Getting to see amazing pieces, funny and cool people and the beach. Plus, we are staying in a resort, so I am excited for that. Being with the people going because I like most of them, and spending the week with forensicators like me.

…when I made it into finals and I got third, it kind of dawned on me that this could be a possibility.”

— Mikayla Kitchen

What was your reaction when you learned you qualified for Nationals?

I didn’t believe Laflen at first and I thought she was kidding or joking. I kind of jumped up in the air, moved around and shook it out, I guess. And then Laflen and I hugged for like 30 seconds to a minute because we were so happy.

How are you going to prepare for Nationals?

By doing it a lot. I’m performing at Feast and Follies, I’m going to state, and performing for all my classes. Just doing it over and over again until it’s near perfect.

Why do you enjoy being in forensics?

I enjoy forensics because of the people. For me acting is just a way to release and it’s really fun. I get to play like four crazy characters. The people in forensics are awesome and super sweet. Plus, you enjoy the many people who talk to walls.

How did you decide which piece you wanted to do?

I started looking for a piece last December and I looked at tons of funny pieces. I YouTubed funny pieces and I actually found mine on YouTube. I really liked it so I found a different cutting of the script. I found another one that I liked and asked my friends and close family members which one could they see me doing and that really helped me make my decision.

Photo by: Julie Laflen, Contributed