On Dec. 5, 2020, SVSU’s forensics teams gave performances that qualified them to compete at the national competition April 16-20.
SVSU students Evangeline Cruz, Jessica Davis, Claire Harris and Austin Teeple earned awards qualifying them to join Isaiah Powell, Mikayla Rigda, Adam Stepanski and Brandon Stockwell, who had qualified due to past performances.
“With there being a limited number of tournaments, competition is very hard; everyone is constantly bringing their A-game and wants to do their topic and team justice,” said Jessica Davis, a elementary education sophomore. “For my event specifically, there were two rounds that were judged, and from that, judges submit their ballots with critiques and scores.”
Davis qualified for nationals with a persuasion speech.
“I qualified last year, but COVID inhibited that event from happening,” she said. “There will be a lot of people who are highly effective communicators and know what they’re doing. … It is an incredible opportunity to learn about so many different subjects and admire how various people interpret their event.”
Cruz, a communications sophomore, received second place in the persuasion category.
“I have no idea what nationals will be like or how exactly the process will go since this is my first year ever competing,” she said. “However, I am beyond excited and proud of what I have accomplished so far with the help of the team.”
Cruz received the “Top Novice Award,” which is an award given only to first-year competitors who achieved the highest score in the category they competed in.
Cruz and Davis expressed excitement for nationals and passion for the forensics team.
“I’m very thrilled to be able to strengthen my experiences and skills through forensics and advocating for something so meaningful to myself and many others around the country,” Cruz said. “I am so happy I joined the forensics team. I love how supportive everyone is towards each other and that we genuinely care about each other’s successes.”
Davis said she is excited to listen to what others will present, but she is also excited to bring awareness to her topic.
“My speech specifically is about Quiet Rooms, which are misused time-out areas for when students pose a safety threat to themselves or others,” Davis said. “As a result of these rooms, students experience physical and mental trauma, and it is detrimental to their well-being.”
Davis stressed the importance of helping each other succeed.
“When it comes to my team, I am so happy to be in a group of such amazing people,” she said. “They make the entire experience a learning opportunity while also having fun and making memories. … I look forward to competing more in the future.”
The forensics team encourages interested students to get involved.
“Anyone with a topic can compete,” Davis said. “It doesn’t matter your major or age, and that is the beauty of forensics.”