Speechy Keen Returns Home for Forensics Showdown
April 21, 2017
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Last Monday, April 10, Cal State LA’s Forensics Speech & Debate Team wrapped up a very successful year with a final showcase, displaying the final product of their hard work for all to see. The hour-long event provided momentum for the team before they jetted off to defend their first place title at the 2017 National Forensics Association (NFA) competition.
Under the roof of the USU-Theater, it was a packed audience, including a few very notable dignitaries. President of the University William Covino, Provost Lynn Mahoney, Interim Dean of Arts and Letters Rennie Schoepflin, Assistant Dean Andrew Connors, and Communications Studies Department Chair David Olsen were all in attendance.
Four student members were featured, each performing one ten-minute long piece for the attending audience. Rashad Freeman, who is currently in his first year of Forensics, performed a Prose Interpretation piece. In Interpretation pieces, students draw from and perform published material, with an added self-written introduction, in which they clarify the importance of the piece. A Prose event, more specifically, requires that competitors draw from material written in the form of novels or short stories.
Freeman’s piece discussed the father-son relationship through the lens of a man who finds it hard to relate to his son. The man, who had a much tougher upbringing, cannot appeal to the gentle innocence of his son’s youth. With a son who only recently turned five years old, Freeman in many ways relates to the material.
“We were born in very similar geographical locations. Personally we have become numb to violence and aggressive behaviors as a product of adapting to our environment. Like the prose describes I also have experienced horrific acts of violence. Personally the prose is my story. I hope my son never has to learn of the trails I have faced and I hope he never has to experience any for himself,” Freeman said.
Over the past year, Freeman has become very involved with the team, performing in the fall showcase earlier on this year and at Cal State LA’s Preview Day. Alike many other members of the team, participating in Speech has had an impact not only on an academic level, but also interpersonal.
“I’ve heard stories from people across the nation who have very similar ideologies, backgrounds, and particular types of experiences that I thought were unique to myself,” Freeman said.
Daisy Villalobos, who performed an After Dinner Speech (platform speech with elements of humor), noted more benefits of Speech. “Forensics has given me that outlet to become more aware of what’s going on in the world right now and also the communication skills to talk to audiences on another realm,” Villalobos said.
Also featured at the showcase was Monica Roldán, President of the Forensics team. Although she also performs Dramatic Interpretation (use of a play or script) and Poetry Interpretation (use of a poem/s), Roldán showcased her Persuasion speech on the early promises and later deficits of Pantsuit Nation. As is often taught in GE Communication courses, Persuasion speeches typically involve persuading the audience to adopt a specific course of action.
As president of the team, Roldán was particularly delighted with the ability of the showcase to bring Speech to the forefront of the school’s attention.
“One thing is that not a lot of people on campus know what Forensics is unless you’ve been in the class or you’re on Forensics, which is a very small amount of people. So it was to show the rest of Cal State LA what we are and that we are actually a thing, and to celebrate what we’re doing and give thanks to our coaches and to show everyone that it’s not just the performers,” Roldán said
David Olsen, Chair of the Communication Studies Department, also stressed the hard work of the speech coaches at Cal State LA. Coaches are responsible for both directing and producing student pieces. In charge of facilitating rehearsals, they work one-on-one with students over the year to elevate their performances to a competitive state.
This past week (last Tuesday through this Monday), the Speech team has been competing at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire to defend their title as first place NFA champions in Division II.
If you’re ever interested in Forensics or see what it’s all about, stay tuned for the next Forensics showcase or feel free to contact the Director of Forensics, Holland Smith. Or you can just do what Roldán recommends and stop by the squad room at KH C3012A. They’ll be expecting you.
What’s the dally for? Join a winning team!