Lafayette Forensics takes on IOA!

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Kelly Mwaamba (’22), has finishes her final tournament as a semi-finalist in the Interstate Oratorical Association’s (IOA) 147th annual championship tournament.  Shirley Liu (’23) also narrowly missed the elimination rounds.  Both competitors did the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania proud!

IOA is the longest running public speaking competition in North America. The first tournament was first held in 1874 in Galesburg, IL and had been held without interruption in some capacity every year since . Two students are selected by each state to participate. In 2022, the representatives from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania were both students from Lafayette College. Traditionally hosted in a unique setting (like in front of the Liberty Bell or Mount Rushmore), this year the tournament was held in Indianapolis.

Against the best competitors from each state, Kelly finished in the top 12 that advanced to a semi-final round. Attending this prestigious competition is an honor. Lafayette has a long history of representing Pennsylvania at this tournament. Past IOA competitors include William Jennings Bryan, Senator Robert LaFollette, and Senator George McGovern. Both student’s speeches will be published in the journal Winning Orations.

Congratulations, Kelly and Shirley!

NFA Nationals – Seniors Go Out With a BANG!

[Normal, IL] For only the second time this year, the entire team travelled to an in person tournament. Debaters and speech competitors arrived at Illinois State University in Normal, IL ready to perform one last time. Director of Debate, John Boyer, was the tournament director, but Scott Placke (Director of Forensics), Luisa Gunn (Assistant Debate Coach), and Saeed Malami (alumni judge) spent the week getting the students ready to compete!

After four grueling and rewarding days of competition, Lafayette placed NINE events into the elimination rounds! Junior, Shirley Liu, advanced to the Octofinal round in Rhetorical Criticism! James Hixenbaugh finished 4th in the novice impromptu final round! Baris Yazici was crowned the novice NATIONAL CHAMPION in Lincoln-Douglas debate! But it was the seniors that stole the show. Sophomore, Jacob Moldover advanced to the Octofinal round in Lincoln-Douglas debate before losing on a 2-1 decision to the eventual national champion. Jacob also made it to the quarterfinal round in Extemp!

Senior, Yordanos Mengistu, achieved her goal of debating in the elimination rounds at the national tournament and did! Yordanos lost to a very tough opponent, but we are so proud of her double octofinalist award!

It was senior, Kelly Mwaamba, who stole the show. Kelly put together the single best performance at NFA in Lafayette history. Kelly made TWO national final rounds, finishing 5th and 6th in Prose and Persuasion respectively. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, Kelly also made ADS and Impromptu quarterfinals and octofinals in Poetry.

As a team, the LDers finished 7th in team sweepstakes and the speech team took 7th in the President’s II division and was 17th place overall, one of the highest finishes in team history.

After a long national tournament, the students were excited to get back home and start preparing for next year. Everyone except for two students. State champion, Shirley Liu, and Kelly Mwaamba qualified to represent the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at the Interstate Oratorical Association’s national tournament…

Kelly Mwaamba Makes History at AFA Nationals!

[Lincoln, NE] Lafayette Forensics Society travelled to its FIRST in-person national tournament since 2019 last weekend.  Kelly Mwaamba (’22) and Shirley Liu (’23) made the trip with Director of Forensics, Scott Placke to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for the American Forensics Association’s national tournament.  The tournament is very prestigious and has a rigorous qualification process.  Both students qualified multiple events for the tournament, just attending is a great honor and both students should be extremely proud of the hard work they put in over the course of the season!

Kelly Mwaamba made history by being the first Lafayette competitor to compete in a final round at AFA!  Kelly took 6th place in Prose Interpretation and also advanced to the Quarterfinal round in Persuasion.  That’s not all.  Kelly was also named an AFA All-American!  This is the third straight year that a Lafayette student has been given this honor and the only three in the program’s history.  This recognition is a testament to the student’s competitive and academic success as well as commitment to service.  It is one of the highest non-competitive honors you can receive in forensics and we are very proud!

The National Forensic Association’s championship tournament is around the corner.  A large group of 15 students will accompany the the coaches to Bloomington-Normal, IL this week!  Wish us luck!

State Champions!

(Westminster, PA) The Lafayette forensics team travelled to Westminster College for the 2022 Pennsylvania state tournament.  For many members of the team, this trip was extra special because it was the first in-person tournament in more than two years!  Traveling together as a team again was a special experience and the team earned NINE state championships!  In addition to winning the tournament, Lafayette won state championships in After Dinner Speaking, Dramatic Interpretation, Duo, Informative, Persuasion, Poetry, and Programmed Oral Interpretation!

The team still has three competitions left; the American Forensics Association national tournament, the National Forensics Association’s championship tournament, and the Interstate Oratorical Association’s championship.  The season is starting to wind down, but there are some big tournaments still to come!

Full results
Parliamentary Debate: 2nd – Josh Hale/Ben Herman, Semifinalist – Ceci Montufar/Baris Yazici
After Dinner Speaking: State Champion – Kelly Mwaamba
Dramatic Interpretation: State Champion – Image Patterson, 2nd – Kelly Mwaamba, 3rd – Danny Demelfi
Dramatic Duo Interpretation: State Champion – Danny Demelfi/Kelly Mwaamba
Extemporanous Speaking: 2nd – Josh Hale, 5th – Michael Sun
Impromptu Speaking: 2nd – James Hixenbaugh
Informative Speaking: State Champion – Shirley Liu, 2nd – Michael Sun
Persuasive Speaking: State Champion – Shirley Liu, 3rd – Kelly Mwaamba
Poetry Interpretation: State Champion – Image Patterson, 3rd – Kelly Mwaamba, 4th – Ronnie Ward
Programmed Oral Interpretation: State Champion – Danny Demelfi
Prose Interpretation: 3rd – Ronnie Ward, 5th – Kelly Mwaamba, 6th – Michael Sun
Rhetorical Criticism: 2nd – Shirley Liu

Individual Sweepstakes: State Champion, Kelly Mwaamba

Team Sweepstakes: State Champions, Lafayette College

Novices win big at Novice Nationals!

(Indianapolis, IN) – The novice members of the Lafayette Speech and Debate team had the opportunity to attend an in-person tournament.  After two years of competing online some members of the team have never had the opportunity to travel to a tournament.  Fortunately for our excellent group of novices, they were able to travel to Indianapolis for the Novice National Tournament.  Not only was the trip incredible, but these novices had some GREAT results and a Novice National Champion!

Image Patterson finished 3rd in DI, 2nd in Slam Poetry, and was the TOURNAMENT CHAMPION IN POETRY!
Angela Busheska finished 3rd in ADS and 2nd in Persuasion
James Hixenbaugh finished 3rd in Impromptu Sales and 2nd in Impromptu
Dan Tierney finished 5th in Impromptu
Amira Figueroa Urrutia finished 4th in Impromptu

Combined, these results were enough for Lafayette to be crowned Division 2 Novice National Champions!!!

Congratulations to our novices on an incredible tournament and we can’t wait to see what else they are capable of at the Pennsylvania State Tournament and the NFA Championship Tournament in April!

    

Fall Semester in Review!

Way back in the Fall of 2021, no one knew what to expect.  Were we in for another semester of online competition?  Would we get the opportunity to compete in person again?  As the semester unfolded and variants continued to grow, competitions moved on-line one by one.  In the end, the speech team was able to compete online twice while the debaters competed online.  Despite the disappointing nature of online competition, the team stayed motivated and put up great results!

As we transition into another semester of waiting to find out how the next COVID variant will effect the team and the activity, lets celebrate some of the accomplishments of the team last semester!  Watch this space for more updates as the team builds towards National Tournament season!

Speech Awards!

University of West Florida
Individual Awards: Prose – Kelly Mwaamba 3rd; Impromptu – Kelly 2; POI – Danny Demelfi 3rd; Info – Travis King 4; CA – Shirley Liu 1st; Poe – Kelly 1; Pers – Angela Busheska 4, Kelly 1; DI – Danny 6; Kelly 1;
Pentathalon – Kelly;
Team Awards: Team Speech 1; overall combined sweepstakes 3rd
Bowling Green State University
Individual Awards: Communication Analysis – Shirley 1st; DI – Kelly 3rd; Info – Shirley 6th; Novice Ext – Baris Yazici 3rd; Novice Imp – Dan Tierney 5th; Pers – Kelly 2nd; Poetry – Kelly 2nd; Varsity Extemp – Jacob Moldover 1st; Varsity Imp – Travis 5th;
Individual Sweeps – Kelly 1st
Team Awards: 2nd place
Seton Hall University
Individual Awards: POI – Jefrey Lopez 1st; DUO – Kelly and Jordan Shaibani, 1st; Extemp – Ami Figueroa Urritia, 6th; Imp Sales – Jefrey, 5th; Ami, 4th; Pers – Ronnie Ward, 7th; Angela, 3rd; Kelly, 1st; Prose – Olivia, 3rd; Jordan, 2nd; Kelly 1st; ADS – Jefrey, 3rd; Angela, 2nd; DI – Jefrey, 3rd; Jordan, 2nd; Kelly 1st; POE – Ronnie, 5th, Kelly, 1st;
Individual Sweepstakes – Jefrey, 2nd; Kelly, 1st.
Team Awards: 1st place
Bradley University
Individual Awards: DI – Kelly, 6; Duo – Kelly & Jordan – 6; Pers – Kelly -Semi-final; Poe – Kelly, 6; Pro – Kelly, 5;
Individual Sweeps – Kelly, 5;
DANCE OFF, Kelly 1.
SNAFU Charity Ball
Individual Awards: ADS – Angela 6; CA – Shirley 1; Info – Michael Sun 7, Shirley 4; Pers – Angela 3; Poe – Image Patterson, 1; POI Shirley 5; Prose – Michael 4;
Individual Sweeps – Shirley 3.
Team Awards: 2nd place
Long Island Swing, Day 1
Individual Awards: Info – Shirley 4,;Poe – Kelly 1; ADS – Kelly – 2; Duo- Jordan / Kelly 2, Danny / Kelly 1; Prose – Jordan 2, Kelly 1; DI – Danny 6, Kelly 3; CA – Shirley 2;
Individual Sweeps – Kelly 1
Off-Broadway Swing, Day 2
Individual Awards: ADS – Kelly 1; CA – Shirley – 4; DI – Danny 6, Kelly 4; Duo – Jordan / Kelly 6, Danny / Kelly 3; Info – Michael 4; Pers – Shirley 3; Poe – Kelly 1; POI – Danny – 7; Prose – Jordan 6, Kelly 1;
Individual Sweeps: Kelly 1
Debate Awards!

Western Kentucky University
Individual Awards: Jaden Stone JV QF, JV 5th Speaker; Josh Hale Open QF

Lafayette College
Individual Awards: Baris Yazici, NOV 2nd place, NOV 1st speaker; Jacob Moldover, Open 1st, 5th speaker; Josh, Open 2nd place, 2nd speaker; Ben Herman Open SF, 4th speaker, Ceci Montufar Open SF, 1st speaker; Yordanos Mengistu Open QF

University of Central Missouri, Day 1
Individual Awards: Josh, OPEN QF, 8th speaker

University of Central Missouri, Day 2
Individual Awards: Josh, Open 1st place; 1st speaker

Illinois State University
Individual Awards: Baris, NOV 1st place; Michael Antonacci, NOV SF, 5th speaker; Josh, Open 2nd place, 5th speaker

Penn State University
Individual Awards: Anna Fenkel, NOV SF, 2nd speaker; Ben, Open 1st place, 1st speaker; Yordanos, Open 2nd place, 2nd speaker; Ceci, Open SF, 4th speaker

The Fall Finale
Individual Awards: Michael, NOV 2nd place, 1st speaker; Josh, Open 2nd place, 4th speaker; Jaden, Open QF; Jacob, Open SF, 2nd speaker

Lafayette Forensics at Play!

[Easton, PA] The team took a trip to play mini-golf at a local course and I’d say we had a good time.
But of course I would say that, I won!  Enjoy these pictures we took during the trip!

Duo Parnters! (Jordan Shaibani and Kelly Mwaamba)

Oh Kelly, what did you do now? from left: Jordan Shaibani, Amira Figueroa Urrutia, Yordanos Mengistu

Noooooo!!! from left: Jacob Moldover, Jaden Stone, Daniel Tierney, Anna Fenkel

Sink that putt! from left: Amira Figueroa Urrutia, Jordan Shaibani, Yordanos Mengistu, Kelly Mwaamba

Wait, it’s time for a team picture? Seated (from left): Shirley Liu, Ceci Montufar, Yordanos Mengistu;
Standing (from left): Anna Fenkel, Daniel Tierney, Jacob Moldover, Jaden Stone, Joshua Hulon Hale,
Jefrey Lopez, Amira Figueroa Urrutia

Scott Kamen finishes 6th at Interstate Oratory!

EASTON, PA – Scott Kamen (’21), has finished 6th in the Interstate Oratorical Association’s (IOA) 147th annual championship tournament.

IOA is the longest running public speaking competition in North America. The first tournament was first held in 1874 in Galesburg, IL and had been held without interruption in some capacity every year since . Two students are selected by each state to participate. In 2021, the representatives from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania were both students from Lafayette College (Scott Kamen and Kelly Mwaamba). Traditionally hosted in a unique setting (like in front of the Liberty Bell, or Mount Rushmore), this year the tournament was held online due to travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Against the best competitors from each state, Scott finished in the top 12 that advanced to a semi-final round. He advanced to the finals, where he finished in 6th place.  Scott is the second Lafayette student to advance to the final round of IOA, following in Saeed Malami’s footsteps from 2019.

Attending this prestigious competition is an honor. Lafayette has a long history of representing Pennsylvania at this tournament. Past IOA competitors include William Jennings Bryan, Senator Robert LaFollette, and Senator George McGovern. Both student’s speeches will be published in the journal Winning Orations.

Congratulations, Scott!

 

Lafayette has incredible National Tournament Season!

[Easton, PA] Lafayette Forensics Society competed at FOUR National Tournaments this semester.  All four were contested online and represented the culmination of a full year of online competition. Two of the tournaments were small entries at both the Pi Kappa Delta and American Forensics Association championships.  At the Pi Kappa Delta tournament, senior Anshuman Mishra, was a semi-finalist in NFA-LD debate joining a long list of Lafayette debaters that have achieved that honor.  A deserving achievement for the senior and 4 year member of the team.

The full-team got in on the act at the National Speech Championships.  After finishing 11th as a team last year, the team had a goal of finishing in the top 10.  Every single entry contributed to the team finishing 7th!!!  This is the first time that the Lafayette speech team finished in the top 10 of the top division of a national tournament.  5 different events advanced to a final round at NSC.  Jordan Shaibani and Kelly Mwaamba finished 4th in Duo Interpretation.  Kelly also made the final round in Persuasion and Poetry where she took 4th and 5th respectively.  Senior Scott Kamen had an excellent tournament with two more final round appearances in Persuasion and Informative, taking 6th place in both events.

Finally, both speech and debate competitors finished the season with the National Forensics Association’s Championship Tournament.  The tournament was held online by our own Director of Debate John Boyer, who had the unenviable task of being the Tournament Director at the first (and hopefully only) online NFA championship.  Lafayette Forensics pushes all year towards a capstone experience at this tournament and it represents a culmination and celebration of the hard work the students have done. A number of students received awards at the tournament.

In debate; Josh Hale was a double octofinalist, Ceci Montufar was an octofinalist, and Luisa Gunn finished her career in style with a SEMI-FINAL finish in debate.  These results were enough for the debaters to finish 4th in debate sweepstakes, the 8th time in 15 years that Lafayette has finished in the top five!

In speech; Scott Kamen was an octofinalist in Duo and Informative, and a quarterfinalist in ADS and Rhetorical Criticism.  Jordan Shaibani was an octafinalist in Duo with her partner Kelly.  Kelly Mwaamba was an octofinalist in duo with both Jordan AND Scott, as well as octofinal finishes in Poetry, Persuasion, and Prose.  Jefrey Alexander was also an octofinalist in Prose!  Combined, these finishes earned Lafayette a FIFTH PLACE finish in Division II and one of our highest point totals in team history!

While it was a difficult season, it was still rewarding.  We don’t know what the future holds for competitive forensics next year, but we have proven that online competition is not an obstacle to our students excelling at, learning, and growing from forensics!  See you next year!

From Left, top: Andrea Rivera Conte, Ceci Montufar, Ben Herman, Jacob Moldover, Joshua Hulon Hale. Bottom, center: Yordanos Mengistu, Luisa Gunn holding the NTDC 1st place team award and the 4th place debate sweepstakes award from NFA Nationals

The debaters celebrating their end-of-season debate awards! From Left, top: Andrea Rivera Conte, Ceci Montufar, Ben Herman, Jacob Moldover, Joshua Hulon Hale. Bottom, center: Yordanos Mengistu, Luisa Gunn holding the NTDC 1st place team award and the 4th place debate sweepstakes award from NFA Nationals. Not pictured: Anshuman Mishra, Jaden Stone

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