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Presleigh Renner turns a passion for Disney into a spot at state

Pat Foley

Pat Foley

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At the IHSA speech tournament, Presleigh Renner was the first freshman from Central to qualify for state. Renner, who placed third at the regional tournament, was one of four freshmen at the tournament, according to Mr. Paul Woods, head forensics coach and science teacher.

“For all the success that people [in forensics] have had, we’ve never had anyone as a freshman be part of our regional team and qualify for the state tournament. It’s rare to have a freshman on our regional team at all. The last time we had a freshman on our regional team was 2005,” Woods said.

Renner, who considers herself a very theatrical person, decided to try out for the forensics team after a friend told her about it because the team seemed like a good way to develop her passion for performing.

“I’ve always considered myself a very theatrical person, and I love performing, so forensics sounded like something that would be really fun and challenging to try out for. I never thought I’d actually make it this far though, ” Renner said.

“It was obvious that she belonged on the team and that she was going to have a great season. She has worked hard all year, and certainly deserves this honor,” Woods said.

Out of the 12 different forensics categories, team members usually focus on one or two. Renner’s focus is Original Comedy.

“Original Comedy is essentially an eight minute comedic skit I write myself. The only catch is that I also play all the parts. The audience can tell what character I’m portraying by change in voice and position, also known as a “pop.” It’s a little schizophrenic, but all fun,” Renner said.

Woods believes that this event requires a unique skill set.

“Original Comedy really requires you to be confident, have a great sense of humor, to be a strong writer, and to have a great sense of comic timing,” Woods said.

Renner put her unique Original Comedy skills set into a piece that is based off of something most teenagers know and love: Disney characters.

“Presleigh has an odd infatuation with Disney. So she decided to work that love of Disney into her original comedy. The storyline is Prince Charming is holding a game show to find his perfect match. So it goes through a number of different Disney princesses who are competing for his hand in marriage,” Woods said.

Despite her historic success, Presleigh doesn’t feel pressure to live up to past forensics names such as Vinay Nayak, who won Nationals in 2010 with Original Oratory.

“The only pressure is the pressure I put on myself. The team members and coaches are so amazingly supportive that the only pressure I feel is the pressure to make proud the people that have helped me so much,” Renner said

However, Woods does see more success in Renner’s future.

“The student who was a freshman on our regional team in 2005 did end up going on and winning a state championship by the time he was a senior. That’s not to say that a state championship is granted in Presleigh’s future, but for all the talent we’ve seen that she has, that’s definitely not out of the realm of possibility,” Woods said.

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Presleigh Renner turns a passion for Disney into a spot at state