IOA and Season Recap~

This weekend, we took our wonderful novice Holly to the 150th Interstate Oratory National Championship. This tournament is super important as it is the oldest tournament in our community! Holly was 1 of two representatives from the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Competitors for this tournament qualify by being the top winners of persuasive speaking in the state. In Holly’s case, she was number 1 in PA! (pictures below)

aaaand that’s a wrap on the 2023/2024 forensics season! what a blast! This season has been insanely eventful, from running our own tournament in October, to making our way to Peoria, Illinois TWICE! to winning the Pennsylvania Forensics Association States Championship and the Novice National Championship! We took the students to NFA, the biggest and most important national tournament of the year and the culmination of the seasons’ work, and had multiple octofinalists, quarterfinalists and novice national finalists and champions! stay tuned for next season, and as always, rollll pards!

Holly wearing her custom made IOA shirt (with her last name on the back) with Lexi, a fellow competitor from OU

dim sum we got while we were in Chicago for IOA!

Holly practicing her speech before competition!

they say NFA is a MARATHON, not a sprint – NFA Recap & Results!

Last week, we took the entire squad to Mount Pleasant, Michigan for the National Forensics Association Tournament, the most important national tournament of the season (as well as the last) and the culmination of a years’ worth of hard work. Full squad in tow, we spent a week in Central Michigan with our friends @ CMU. In the forensics world, we say ‘NFA is a marathon, not a sprint,’ and was it a marathon indeed. An entire week of competition, living together and eating together, but a great week it was, and the team was very successful

There were 61 schools at this years Nationals, with a total of 399 students and 10,594 ballots (yes, 10,594 ballots). A true marathon indeed. Nevertheless, the students persisted and did phenomenal. With such a young squad full of novices and second year competitors, the results of NFA 2024 are only indicative of what is to come in the next years with this awesome group. Results are as follows…

NFA is unique in that it has octofinal rounds, in addition to quarters, semis, and finals. We had several national octofinalists:

Camsey octo’d persuasion and POI, while both Jordan and Camsey octo’d their duo!

Natalia octo’d her DI

and Ben octo’d in impromptu and extemp!

In addition to our octofinalists, we had a QUARTERFINALIST! our senior Jordan broke thru octos to quarters with her ADS! This is no small feat; a quarters break means that Jordan was in the TOP 24 speakers in the NATION!

Our novices also showed out for this tournament! We had numerous novices break to novice final rounds of their events!

Will and Bridget were in the novice final round of impromptu; Will was 3rd in the NATION, and Bridget was 6th IN THE NATION!

Holly broke to the novice persuasive speaking final round! she was 3rd in the NATION

Lastly, Will and Bridget both made it to the novice final round of extemporaneous speaking. Bridget was 4th place in the NATION while Will was 1st, making him a NOVICE NATIONAL CHAMPION!

As a team, we were 6th in the NATION in division 2 of presidential sweepstakes – sweepstakes are determined by number of entries per team.

what a way to end this semester, and this 2023/2024 season of competition. stay tuned for next year! and check out some pics from our trip below!









National Speech Championship 2024!




This weekend, we travelled to Chicago to the UNiversity of Illinois, Chicago for the annual National Speech Championship. Even though we only had 3 students for the weekend, they were 9th in the NATION! Full results are below

Communication Analysis – Ben Risley, Semi-Finalist

Duo Interpretation – Camsey Noonan and Jordan Shaibani, Semi-Finalist

Extemporaneous Speaking – Ben Risley, Quarter- Finalist

Poetry Interpretation – Camsey Noonan, Quarter-Finalist

After Dinner Speaking – Jordan Shaibani, Quarter-Finalist

Dramatic Performance – Jordan Shaibani, Quarter-Finalist

Impromptu Speaking – Ben Risley, Semi-Finalist

Prose Interpretation – Camsey Noonan, Quarter-Finalist

Prose Interpretation – Ben Risley, 6th Place

Program Performance – Jordan Shaibani, Semi-Finalist

Program Performance – Camsey Noonan, 5th Place

41st Novice National Tournament




This weekend, the novices (the first year competitors of the team) went to a Novice Only National Tournament at Westminster College. The results are below:


Dramatic Interp, Holly, 5th

Duo, Holly & Will, Novice National Champions

Extemp, Will, Novice National Champion, Bridget, 4th

Impromptu Sales (non traditional event) Will, 2nd, Bridget, 5th

Impromptu, Will, 3rd, Bridget, 4th

Persuasion, Camsey, Novice National Champion, Holly, 4th

Poetry, Camsey, 3rd, Holly, 2nd

POI, Camsey, 2nd

Prose, Camsey, Novice National Champion

Crit, Will, Novice National Champion

Slam Poetry (non traditional event) Camsey, Novice National Champion, Holly, 3rd


For individual sweepstakes awards, competitors participated in 5 events across all speech categories including the non traditional events.

Holly was 4th place

Camsey was 2nd place

and Will was the Individual Sweeps Novice National Champion!


In addition to the individual sweeps awards, the team was 1st place for team sweeps and also won a Quality Award. The quality award is calculated based the average aggregate scores per speech.


cheers to a great weekend as we kick off the nationals season 🙂

Pennsylvania Forensics Association Tournament 2024!






We attended the annual Pennsylvania Forensics Association Annual Championship Tournament this past weekend in West Chester, PA. The team had a very successful weekend, with the results as follows:


ADS, Jordan, 3rd

DI, Jordan, 2nd, Natalia, 3rd, Holly, 6th

Duo, Camsey & Jordan, 1st!

Extemp, Ben, 1st! Will, 5th, Bridget, 6th

Impromptu, Natalia, 1st!

Info, Natalia, 1st! Ben, 2nd, Miles, 3rd

IPDA, Will, 6th

Poetry, Holly, 4th

POI, Camsey, 3rd, Jordan, 5th

Prose, Natalia, 1st! Camsey, 3rd, Ben, 5th

Crit, Ben, 1st! Will, 2nd

Persuasion, 1st, Holly! 4th, Camsey

It is important to note that persuasive is a unique event at the state level. The top 2 persuasive speakers in the state get a bid to attend IOA,  the Interstate Oratorical Assc. National tournament, which is being held in Chicago this April. Holly won 1 of the two bids, getting 1st in the state with her persuasion.

for sweeps awards..


Ben was 1st place!

Natalia was 2nd place

Camsey was 4th place

and for team sweeps, Lafayette was 1st place, maintaining our streak of being first in the country for the last 6 years!

stay tuned for the remainder of the season, nationals season is upon us 🙂 let’s go pards

~Fall 2023 Recap~

As the semester comes to a close, the Lafayette team wanted to highlight our highlights for this semester! This was a jam-packed semester and a great start to the 2023/2024 forensics season.

in October… (busy month)

We travelled down to Harrisonburg, Virginia for the Virginia is for Lovers tournament at James Madison. In the very first tournament of the semester, Jordan had 2nd in DI and 6th in prose, Natalia had 2nd in info and 5th in impromptu, Ben was 5th in prose and a finalist in impromptu, and Camsey had 5th in poetry and 6th in persuasion. Overall, our team left with the 5th place sweepstakes award.

Our next tournament was the OchoIE, which we hosted and only had the novices compete in.  Camsey took 2nd in persuasion, 3rd in poetry and 5th in prose.

We travelled to West Chester later in the month for the Mystic tournament, hosted by our family at WCU.  At this tournament, we had Camsey 1st in Persuasive and William 1st in IPDA. The rest of the results are below:

Ben, 2nd, Editorial Impromptu
Camsey, 2nd, Poetry
Miles, 2nd, Extemp
Jordan, 3rd, Prose
Natalia, 3rd, DI
Ben, 4th, Prose
Natalia , 4th, Editorial Impromptu
Natalia, 4th, Info
Ben, 5th, Extemp
Jordan, 5th, DI
Miles, 5th, Editorial Impromptu
Miles, 5th, Impromptu

This was a great tournament for the team, and the students came home with the 2nd place sweepstakes trophy! woohoo!

For the SNAFU half of the swing, the results are as follows:

Camsey, 1st, Persuasive
Jordan, 1st,  DI
Natalia, 1st, Info
William, 1st, Extemp
Natalia, 2nd, Prose
William, 2nd, Impromptu
Camsey, 3rd, Poetry
Camsey, 3rd, Prose
Natalia, 3rd, DI
Natalia, 4th, Impromptu
Ben, 5th, Impromptu

At this tournament, we took 1st place in sweeps! yeehaw!

in November…

we hopped on a little plane to an even littler town in Illinois for the Norton tournament hosted by Bradley University in Peoria. Although we had no breaks, we had a great weekend @ Bradley (and got to eat some authentic Midwestern fast food)

& in December…

Our final tournament of the semester was the annual Off Broadway tournament at Hofstra University in New York. For the Saturday portion of the tournament, Natalia was 2nd in DI while Camsey was 4th in persuasion.

For the Sunday half,

Camsey, 1st, Persuasive
Natalia, 2nd, DI
Ben, 3rd, Extemp
William, 3rd, CA
William, 5th, Extemp
Natalia, 6th, Info

the season starts back up in 2024, with our first tournament at Bradley again! stay tuned & go pards 🙂

OchoIE Recap

What’s better than free coffee and a made-to-order omelette bar? The annual OchoIE forensics tournament, of course! This past weekend saw the Lafayette Forensics Society host the OchoIE tournament. Aptly named for the notorious 8-round debate prelims which are wholly unique to this tournament, the OchoIE saw its 17th year this weekend. Tournament director and Director of Forensics Scott Placke was the puppet master, ensuring that the tournament ran as smoothly as possible and that students, coaches & judges alike all had a memorable experience. In order to guarantee this, Placke included special amenities typically unavailable at other forensics tournaments, including the aforementioned made-to-order omelette bar, donuts and coffee for breakfast, pizza for lunch, and a judges lounge stocked with an abundance of snacks & drinks. Working behind the scenes to ensure that breaks, outrounds and results were properly tabulated were John Boyer & Alexis Hughes. But perhaps the most instrumental in the success of the weekend were Natalia Ferruggia and Ben Risley, both co-captains of the squad. Natalia and Ben ran around campus incessantly, ensuring that rounds started on time, responding to judges’ many qualms, setting up trophies and the lounge, and just generally making sure that everybody was doing well during the weekend. The overall team sweepstakes results of the tournament were as follows:

West Chester University was in 5th place

Hofstra University was in 4th place

James Madison University was in 3rd place

Cedarville University was in 2nd place

And in 1st place, the tournament champions were Cornell University!


From the Lafayette Forensics Society – A big thank you to everybody who made this tournament possible. We loved being your host, and look forward to seeing you all again next year! Go Pards!

(Also – keep an eye out for an article that will be published by The Lafayette on Friday regarding the tournament!)

Lafayette takes TWO to Interstate Oratory

AUSTIN, TX – Rebecca Koury and Chris Kirch competed at the Interstate Oratorical Association’s (IOA) 148th annual championship tournament. Senior, Shirley Liu qualified for the tournament and fellow senior, Jefrey Alexander, qualified as alternate but neither were unable to go. First-year competitor, Chris Kirch, filled in admirably! Both competitors did the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania proud! Lafayette finished with 4 of the top 5 competitors in the state and was able to send two competitors to IOA again this year!

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, just like this year, 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 at the University of Texas-Austin.

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, Shirley, Rebecca, Jefrey, and Chris!

NFA Nationals Results!

[Peoria, IL] For only the second time this year, the full-team traveled together! Debaters and speech competitors arrived at at Bradley University in Peoria, IL ready to perform one last time. Scott Placke (Director of Forensics), John Boyer (Assistant Director of Forensics), and Luisa Gunn (Assistant Debate Coach) spent the week getting the students ready to compete!

After FIVE grueling and rewarding days of competition, Lafayette placed several events into the elimination rounds! Four seniors gave their last performances this year at NFA.  Josh Hale advanced to the quarterfinals in debate and took home 5th speaker.  Together with fellow senior, Ben Herman, they finished 7th as a team in debate sweepstakes!  Jefrey Alexander advanced to the quarterfinal round in POI and the octofinal round in INFO!  Jefrey and senior Shirley Liu, helped power the IE team to 7th place in the President’s II division for the second straight year!  We love our seniors and will be very sad to see them graduate.

However, the future does look bright for Lafayette Forensics!  Miles Parker advanced to the octofinal round of Extemp, Natalia Ferruggia placed 2nd and 3rd in novice DI and novice prose, and Ben Risley finished 3rd in novice impromptu.

After a long national tournament, the students were excited to get back home and start preparing for next year.  Please follow our instagram for more updates!

Lafayette Takes on Tokyo!

For the first time in team history, the Lafayette Forensics Society competed in the International Forensics Association’s championship tournament!  While the host of the tournament changes each year, Lafayette was lucky enough to attend while the tournament was hosted in Japan.  Director of Forensics, Scott Placke accompanied Assistant Director John Boyer (and his wife!) and three of our seniors, Josh Hale, Ben Herman, and Shirley Liu to the tournament.

I know what you really want to see are all the awesome pictures we took on our trip, but in between sightseeing days, we DID in fact compete at a tournament!  Here are the results:

Ben Herman – 4th place EXT, Bronze IPDA
Shirley Liu – 4th place PER, 5th place CA

And HERE are the pictures!  Nationals and IOA updates to come soon!

Forest shrine at the base of Mt. Fuji Josh and Shirley eating and laughing at cherry blossoms
(1) Forest shrine at the base of the ancient path up Mt. Fuji (2) Hungry Josh, Shirley not actually surprised.

Cherry blossom tree outside pond Buddhist shrine in Tokyo
(1) Cherry blossoms are starting to bloom! (2) Inokashira Benzaiten Buddhist shrine

Laputa robot on roof of Studio Ghibli Sriracha vending machine in Tokyo
(1) Laputa robot on the roof of the Studio Ghibli Museum (2) Sriracha vending machine!

Studio Ghibli exterior Ben, Josh, and Shirley on the breakwall by the Pacific Ocean
(1) Studio Ghibli Museum – Exterior (2) Ben, Josh, and Shirley taking a break on the breakwall by Tokyo Bay

Shirley, Ben, Josh posing with awards Team at the Meiji Shrine
(1) Shirley, Ben, and Josh are ready to get back to sight-seeing! (2) The team at the Meiji Shrine

Shirley and Ben at a cat cafe in Tokyo Shirley, Josh, and Ben at the team dinner
(1) Cat Cafe! (2) Team dinner after a long tournament day, Ben unsuccessfully suppressing a smile

A photo of Josh taking a photo of Ben by a cherry blossom tree Ben at the FC Tokyo game
(1) Just two seniors taking turn taking new Linked-In photos (2) Ben, Josh, and John took in an FC Tokyo game!

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