Students present at forensics tournament

Students show off their trophies after giving speeches at the fall forensics qualifying competition on Saturday. Courtesy Photo | Austin Teeple

SVSU hosted the Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League’s fall forensics competition on Saturday, Dec. 7.

The forensics competition is an opportunity for college students to compete for qualification into the national competition, which will be hosted by the National Forensics Association in April 2020 at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Carole Bennett, the executive director of the Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League, attended to help organize the event.

“As long as there are people from seven schools competing, depending on where you place and how many people are in the round, you can qualify for nationals,” Bennett said. “Most schools in this area go to the National Forensics Association Competition.”

Other participating schools were Northwood University, Eastern Michigan University, Oakland Community College, Wayne State University, Ferris State University and the University of Michigan.

A collective 44 students participated across 81 events.

Austin Teeple, a communication junior, participated in persuasive speaking and the impromptu speech categories. Teeple prepared by engaging in practice with the forensics team and by running through his prepared speech throughout the week. He took first in the impromptu category.

“It feels good,” Teeple said. “A year ago, I would have been really nervous, but the more you compete in competitive speech, the less worried you get.”

Students competed in 11 events categorized into three genres: interpretation, public address and limited preparation.

Amy Pierce, the SVSU forensics team coach, said judging is based on the rules and norms for specific events.

“In informative speaking, students are judged on their choice of topic and the content of the speech, as well as their overall delivery,” Pierce said.

Steven Suarez from Eastern Michigan University volunteered to participate as a judge in the event. He said judges look at several aspects of a student’s performance or speech to determine how they should place.

“We look for content, so if the message they’re saying is well thought out,” he said. “For persuasion, (we look for) if they have plausible solutions and if the implications really have an impact on what we’re trying to get through these messages. The other way we look at it is just quality of delivery.”

The top six students in each event move on to the final round in their category. Students who place in the top half of their category are eligible to participate in the competition in Wisconsin in April.

Lydia Greania, a psychology junior, took second place in Program Oral Interpretation and said she enjoyed participating in the competition.

“I really like it because I can mix different pieces together and make it my own,” Greania said. “Everything went great, and everyone did a great job.”

Three students from SVSU took first place in their events: Teeple in Impromptu speaking, Hanna Ducolon in Program Oral Interpretation and Mikayla Rigda in Informative Speaking.

An additional three students placed second in their events: Greania in Program Oral Interpretation, Simone Vaughn in Persuasion and Savannah Senyk in both Duo Interpretation and Dramatic interpretation.

Melissa Vennix
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