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Forensics Speech & Debate Team starts the season off with a big victory

Forensics team blows competition out of the water at first tournament of the year

Photo+Courtesy+of+Cal+State+L.A+Forensics+Speech+%26+Forensics+Facebook
Photo Courtesy of Cal State L.A Forensics Speech & Forensics Facebook

Photo Courtesy of Cal State L.A Forensics Speech & Forensics Facebook

Photo Courtesy of Cal State L.A Forensics Speech & Forensics Facebook

Anthony Karambelas, Staff Reporter

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Cal State LA is accredited for numerous clubs, one of them being our stellar Forensics Speech and Debate Team. You might remember back to last year, when they claimed the title of first place in Division B in the nation, with only six students on the team.

Highlights included Lane Schwager, who won fourth in the nation for her hilarious After Dinner Speech (ADS), and now coaches for the team. In a Facebook post, Cal State LA Forensics projected to double the number of students on the team. This year, they accomplished just that.

Having inducted eight new team members so far for this season, the team is twelve competitors strong. They have been busy at work since the start of fall semester, preparing their individual events. Now fully prepared to rock the competition, all that was left to do was compete.

Last weekend, the Cal State LA Forensics Team participated in their first speech tournament of the year, a two-day swing consisting of the Aztec and Mills Invitationals.

Carrying on the tradition of excellence, this fully-fledged team took home second place overall in Individual Events for both days. Every competitor on the team made it to finales, and several took home first place in their divisions. Suffice it to say, they were “speechy keen.”

Each member has a unique story. Third-year Alex Zhou recalled his COMM 150 experience with Professor Frances Chee and how she inspired him to join the team. “While I started off a little scared of speaking in public, I ended up really enjoying it and competed in the speaking showcase. From there, Frances recommended I join the Forensics team and I’ve loved it ever since,” said Zhou.

But this is not the only way to join Forensics. Eric Orozco recounted a humorous story that many can relate to. “I joined the team by accident. I was majoring in Communication Studies at ELAC and I saw ‘forensics’ listed as one of the classes. I thought that meant forensics science, the CSI stuff, and wondered what dead bodies had to do with communication. So my curiosity got the better of me and I joined the class. I thought it was going to be about how we can identify what went down in crime scenes by looking at things like body placement and bullet hole trajectories.”

Orozco continued, “I show up to the class and the teacher/director of forensics comes in. First thing he said was, ‘Welcome, everyone, to forensics. Just to let you know, you are all now part of the speech team.’ It was fun, so I’ve been doing it ever since.”

There is more to speech than the name would have it. It doesn’t just involve the ability to recite articulately, although that is a key component. Speeches need to be impactful and grounded in truth.

Rashad Freeman, who brought Prose and Poetry pieces to the tournament, described the larger problem his pieces seek to draw attention to. In his prose, he uses his own experiences as a black parent to shed light on the father-son relationship.

“As far as the poetry, it’s about police brutality. It doesn’t take rocket science to see what’s going on to not just the black community, but the marginalized community, including poor white men and women as well,” said Freeman.

Freeman added, “I’m not just an advocate on pro-black. Everyone is equal, so I definitely want to represent that through my piece.”

Alan Diaz noted how his prose sheds light on the correlation between a sense of belonging and depression. “I believe that everyone has been in a lonely place where they feel like they can connect with no one. My piece generates that sense of loneliness and is able to connect everyone in the room without actually saying anything to each other.”

At its core, Cal State LA Forensics is a family. Daisy Villalobos put it perfectly when she said, “Without a doubt, the time you spend with the team will be unforgettable no matter what.”

Make sure to like the Cal State LA Forensics Speech & Debate Facebook for continued updates throughout this year. They expect great things from their team on their journey to Nationals.

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Forensics Speech & Debate Team starts the season off with a big victory