David Cook's former forensics coach remembers the newest music star fondly.

“David Cook was raised by a pack of rabid parrots in Anchorage, Pennsylvania.

“He moved to Blue Springs at the tender age of 2 because his father inherited a small BBQ factory on the outskirts of town.

“After trying many activities in order to fit in, David gave up on being popular and joined forensics,” says former Blue Springs South High School forensics coach Georgia Brady, reading from a hastily strewn-together scrapbook.

She pauses for a moment in the basement of her Blue Springs home with a wide grin. On the television behind her, Cook, a Blue Springs South alumnus, is singing “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2 during the “American Idol” finale Tuesday night.

“David Cook completed this scrapbook in spite of his ongoing battle with the monster that is facial hair,” says Brady, reading the last passage under the header “About the Author.”

“He’s always been into facial hair; I had to force him to cut it for (National Forensics League) districts,” she says.

“David was our public relations secretary his senior year for forensics, which meant his job was to do the scrapbook,” Brady says. “Well, he waited ‘till the last minute and some people were upset because he had more of himself in the scrapbook than anybody.”

But, even then, Brady says Cook was “confident but never cocky.” This despite his repeated success in forensics – including two berths at the national competition, finishing in the top 30 in duo interpretation his senior year.

A flip through the scrapbook reveals a David Cook that is seldom handsome (in one, his tongue-lolling, pimple-clad mug is featured beneath the words: Page of Ugly) but always center stage.

“David was meant to be in forensics,” Brady says. “He’s always loved to be in front of an audience. He just comes alive.”

A forensics student of hers since his freshman year, Cook and his duo interpretation partner Ben Williams opted to change their material three weeks before the district tournament their senior year.

The new piece, titled “Greater Tuna” – a satire revolving around a redneck radio station in Greater Tuna, Texas – would require each of them to portray five to six characters.

“I can still see it,” Brady says. “It was one of the funniest things.”

The piece would later earn them a top 30 finish at nationals and a victory at the Blue Springs South senior talent show.

Brady says she envisioned Cook becoming perhaps an actor or a comedian, but now she knows better.

“For nationals in Oklahoma his senior year, he brought his guitar with him,” Brady says. “Actually, he took his guitar everywhere he went.”

The Examiner