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Price takes state title

Cumberland County High School senior and soon-to-be U.S. Naval Academy student Brittny Price finished her final season with the school’s forensics team by taking first place in the conference, regional and state tournaments for extemporaneous speaking.

Price first began extemporaneous speaking for the forensics team her freshman year in Cumberland.

“(Cumberland High School Forensics Coach Charles Haigh) was talking about it in class, asking people if anyone was interested in doing forensics,” Price said. “I asked him what it was, (and) he told me it was competitive public speaking … I respectfully said, ‘No thank you. That’s not for me,’” Price said. “And then he went ahead and put me down for the interest meeting.”

Brittny Price

According to Price, the interest meeting — one she received a call about in school, unknowingly having been signed up for it — led her to realize she would participate in extemporaneous speaking, because if she had to memorize a script, she would have “completely blanked” when it came to competition, Price said.

Since then, she’s made it to states every year.

Haigh said Price has been one of the key members of the forensics team over the past four years.

“She’s been phenomenal … Extemporaneous it is a demanding category,” Haigh said. “The kids are told in advance, maybe two or three weeks beforehand, the topics, and they do blind research on it.”

Haigh said the students have no idea of the questions they’ll be asked.

“You don’t know what the questions are going to be until you get there, and then you pick three questions out of a hat … You pick from those three questions,” Haigh said.

He said Price was excellent at picking from the three questions and — even if she hadn’t done research on any of the three questions — she was still able to pull from something she’d read before.

Price said being a part of forensics has changed her.

“(Without forensics), I would not be the person that I am today. I would not be in the position that I am to get all of these accolades, go to the Naval Academy and really do something bigger if it wasn’t for Mr. Haigh signing me up against my will to be a part of the forensics team and working with me over the course of these past four years,” Price said.

Price, 17, said she plans to major in political science and minor in Arabic at the Naval Academy.

“The dream goal is to go into the field of intelligence, but that’s a restricted line. I might have to go into service warfare first and then transfer over,” Price said.

She said following graduation from the academy, she’ll serve five years with the U.S. Navy.

During an interview with Haigh, he said Kaylah Paras, the Class of 2017 valedictorian who has been accepted to Brown University, along with John Jeffries, the 2017 salutatorian, who has been accepted to Virginia Tech, were members of the team who were going to be missed  along with Price.

“The whole team has been phenomenal,” Haigh said. “This is the fourth year in a row that they’ve gotten a conference championship, third year in a row for regional and second in a row for district. We’ve been really racking up those championships and, you know, we keep getting close to getting a state title.”