Expecting success?

By J. Metje

“If we do succeed, then the sky’s the limit.” – senior Katelin Danaher

This summer, seniors Katelin Danaher and Taylor Williams accomplished something few in the world can say they did. Competitors at the National Speech and Debate Association’s national tournament, Danaher and Williams won nineteenth in the nation in Duo Interpretation with a piece titled “Grace and Glory.”

Going into their senior year, the pair found themselves in a position even fewer people experience, in that they have an entire year to try and do it all again. After such phenomenal success, high expectations abound for Danaher, Williams and their many supporters.

“I personally expect us to do at least as well as last year because we have experience that a lot of people haven’t had,” Danaher said.

Procuring this experience over the last four years has been a challenge.

“Since the beginning of time, we were told we can’t be a duo,” Williams said. Many believed the pair would not work well together, were too busy to put in the work, or simply did not have the ability.

“We wanted to prove everyone wrong and do it. We couldn’t let it get in our heads that people gave up on us before we could ever give up on ourselves, and we never did,” Williams confessed.

It is this doubt that has shaped the two’s current expectations for themselves and how they perceive the expectations of others.

“I think some people expect us to final at nationals. They know what we can do. They’ve seen us transform from novices to experts, and I think deep down they believe in us,” Danaher said.

However, there are some obstacles in front of this eventual success.

“When you find a piece that clicks like we did, it’s hard to find another. We just have to be the best forensicators we can and continue to move forward,” Danaher finished.

Speech coach Jacquelyn Young wisely offered the solution to the obstacles they face.

“I want leadership. Success is based on work ethic. When other people see the way you work, and learn from you, by the end of the journey you will exceed your own expectations,” she said.

Amidst all of these differing ideas, however, the duo does indeed continue to struggle.

“Sometimes I want to stay strong, and sometimes I question if other people are right. In the end, it’s our piece,” Williams said.

Danaher concurred, noting that repeated success is not as easy as one may believe.

“It can be stressful. I know what I did and I can let myself down and not do it again. But you have to be proud from within, not without,” she resolved.

Young aimed to assuage any fears.

“The only way you can disappoint me is if they don’t meet the potential that I see in them,” she said.

And with this resolve, Danaher and Williams are determined to move forward.

“We must continue doing what we do every year. We can’t give up before we give it a chance. I expect us to perform to the level I know we can,” Willams declared.

Seemingly in response, Young shared her final thought.

“I’m anxious to see what happens in the next four months,” she said.

Regardless of expectations, hopes, and fears, both Danaher and Williams look forward to the future and aim for what they know is their fullest potential.

“If we do succeed, then the sky’s the limit,” Danaher finished.

In a surprising defiance of expectations, Young did not share the same ideas. the long-time coach of the BSHS forensics team cared less about success and more about continuing the legacy she has been building since the 90s.

“The legacy of this team is coming back to help someone else. That’s it. It’s helping someone else help someone else,” she said. “My expectations of them are to be able to help someone else. If, in the midst of that, they accomplish this goal, then there will be no regrets,” Young stated.