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

Lafayette Forensics wins THIRD Consecutive State Title!

[Easton, PA] For the 4th time in the team’s history and the 3rd consecutive the Lafayette Forensics Society has been crowned champions of the Pennsylvania Forensics Association. The tournament took place February 19-21.  Last year, the state tournament was one of the last tournaments the team attended before COVID-19 put a stop to that season’s competition.  This year, as tournaments moved to an online format, the state also prepared for the tournament to be held online.  Despite the hardships of online competition Lafayette Forensics is thriving and the state tournament was no exception.

The state tournament includes competition in 13 different events ranging from the performance of poetry to policy-based debate.  On their way to the title, the team won ELEVEN of the THIRTEEN events.  All told, the team won 37 awards, including the state title.  While all of the championships and awards hold a special meaning to the winners, one event stands out.  Each year, the Interstate Oratorical Association holds their annual tournament in April.  The IOA tournament is the oldest running speech competition in North America.  Each state can send TWO representatives to the IOA tournament and the state tournament is how Pennsylvania selects its representatives.  The top two performers in Persuasive speaking are selected to represent the state at this prestigious competition.  This year, Lafayette’s own Kelly Mwaamba (’22) and Scott Kamen (’21) placed as the state champion and runner-up in Persuasion!  Lafayette also won both debate categories, Parliamentary and Lincoln-Douglas.  The team of Joshua Hale (’23) and Ceci Montufar (’23) were crowned champion in Parliamentary debate, which is the first time Lafayette has EVER won the state championship in that category.

In addition to winning eleven of the events, three Lafayette students also placed in Quadrathon, a category created to recognize the best overall speakers with multiple events across multiple genres (interpretation of literature, public address, and limited preparation).  Kelly Mwaamba (’22) was the state champion in quadrathon, while Scott Kamen (’22) and Andrea Rivera Conte (’23) placed 2nd and 4th respectively.

The state tournament marks the unofficial beginning of the end of the year.  The team will now transition into preparing for the national tournament season and will compete at the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Grand Prix, the American Forensics Association’s National Individual Events Tournament, the National Speech Championship, and the National Forensics Association’s Championship Tournament.  For continued updates on the team’s successes, follow the team on Instagram!

Full Results are available online here.

Fall Semester in Review

The competitive forensics circuit in the Fall of 2020 was unlike any other before it. The realities of COVID have cancelled tournaments and pushed the remaining online. Tournaments are both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (recorded videos). Most of our team is competing from bedrooms, offices, and living rooms across the country. Despite these challenges, Lafayette Forensics had a remarkable semester. Here’s to celebrating the team’s accomplishments at the end of the semester! We at Lafayette Forensics hope that you are all coping with the COVID-19 pandemic to the best of your ability and hopefully these stories will brighten your day!

We have been continually impressed with our students’ drive and commitment. We competed early, we competed often, and we competed well. The season opened all the way back in September when the speech team competed at the Hill Country Swing hosted by the University of Texas-Austin. At this prestigious season opener, Lafayette really hit the ground running with TEN individual awards and a SECOND place in team sweepstakes. The following weekend the debaters competed at Western Kentucky University’s Fall Fiesta. After two students competed in the Round Robin, we advanced two debaters to elimination rounds and Senior, Scott Kamen made a cameo at the concurrent asynchronous speech tournament. It turned out to be more than a cameo, Scott was named tournament champion in Informative speaking and that was enough to propel us to first overall in combined team sweepstakes.

The tournaments and the awards piled up after that; Southwest Baptist, George Mason, Lafayette, SNAFU, Central Missouri, Seton Hall, Hillsdale, California Baptist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, St. Anselm, Bradley, the Charity Ball, Illinois State, Hofstra, and the UNL/Lafayette Fall Finale. All in all the team competed at SEVENTEEN tournaments in the fall. Between split squad weekends and asynchronous tournaments, the team was in action almost every single weekend in the fall semester. Through it all, the team has brought along a healthy crop of new competitors and provided a platform for students to compete no matter what there personal living situations were like. The awards and accolades only grew through the semester. All-in-all, we had TWENTY NINE individual championships, FOUR team sweepstakes wins, and THREE individual sweepstakes wins.

The coaches are extremely proud of all of the hard work the students put in all semester long. The spring semester has already kicked off and the team is continuing to do well! For a full breakdown of all of the awards, check out and follow our Instagram page at https://instagram.com/lafayetteforensics!  This is the best way to continue to follow the team as we progress through the Pennsylvania State Tournament and the National Tournament calendar!

Fall Semester Highlights – Luisa Gunn

The competitive forensics circuit in the Fall of 2020 is unlike any other before it. The realities of COVID have cancelled tournaments and pushed the remaining online. Tournaments are both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (recorded videos). Most of our team is competing from bedrooms, offices, and living rooms across the country. Despite these challenges, Lafayette Forensics has had a remarkable semester. In order to celebrate these accomplishments we will be profiling the success of some of our most senior competitors before celebrating the team’s accomplishments at the end of the semester! We at Lafayette Forensics hope that you are all coping with the COVID-19 pandemic to the best of your ability and hopefully these stories will brighten your day!

Luisa Gunn (’21) has had a remarkable first semester of her senior year.

September: To kick off the year, Luisa was invited to compete in the prestigious Alexis Elliott Memorial Round Robin. It was the first time in 4 years that Lafayette had an entry in this tournament. Luisa represented Lafayette well and the pressures of this competition prepared her for the semester ahead.

October: At the first Northern Tier Debate Conference (NTDC) of the year, Lafayette came ROARING out of the gate. The team was led by Luisa who finished as co-champion, top speaker, and helped earn the team a first place finish. It was a phenomenal performance by the team and happened in no small part due to Luisa’s unparalleled leadership and peer coaching skills.

November: In November Luisa grabbed some more success, this time in individual events. As an exemplary competitor in limited preparation events, Luisa recorded videos for submission to the California Baptist University’s asynchronous tournament. She finished 2nd in extemp! The very next weekend at the third NTDC tournament, Luisa continued her winning ways and was again tournament co-champion and 2nd speaker at the tournament. Two weeks later, Luisa led a small contingent at the Illinois State University’s fall tournament. This national circuit tournament was a bloodbath, but Luisa managed to navigate the prelims to a 4-2 record and an octofinalist finish.

December: The debaters attended one last tournament, the Fall Finale. Co-hosted by Lafayette and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the tournament had a national draw and marked the end of the semester. Luisa finished as a semifinalist and was the 4th place speaker! It was a great end to a very strong semester that involved 3 tournament championships and two more elimination round appearances.

Her success builds upon HOURS of hard work every week. She leads the team through research assignments, organization, and motivation. We are very excited to see what comes next for Luisa and the entire squad. With four or five more tournaments left before the National Tournament, Luisa has helped build a team ready for success on a national level! Congratulations!

Fall Semester Highlights – Scott Kamen

The competitive forensics circuit in the Fall of 2020 is unlike any other before it. The realities of COVID have cancelled tournaments and pushed the remaining online. Tournaments are both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (recorded videos). Most of our team is competing from bedrooms, offices, and living rooms across the country. Despite these challenges, Lafayette Forensics has had a remarkable semester. In order to celebrate these accomplishments we will be profiling the success of some of our most senior competitors before celebrating the team’s accomplishments at the end of the semester! We at Lafayette Forensics hope that you are all coping with the COVID-19 pandemic to the best of your ability and hopefully these stories will brighten your day!

Scott Kamen (’21) has had a phenomenal semester.

September: Straight out the gates Scott virtually traveled to the University of Texas-Austin’s Hillcountry Swing. He took 2nd in Informative, 4th in Persuasion, and 4th in Prose. The very next weekend, Scott competed at an asynchronous tournament hosted by Western Kentucky University. Scott’s Informative speech won 1st place! This was a huge accomplishment at one of the early national circuit tournaments and was a sign of things to come.

October: The awards kept rolling in at George Mason. This was the first time Lafayette had attended this tournament in a VERY long time, but we showed extremely well. Scott took 4th place in Communication Analysis and 5th place in Informative. At the first SNAFU tournament, he took 4th place in Persuasion and 5th place in Prose. At Seton Hall, he took 1st in Persuasion, 2nd in Informative, 3rd in Communication Analysis, 5th in Prose, 2nd place in Individual Sweeps. In addition to the trophies, Scott also was named the winner of the Ed Leonard award that recognizes a competitor who approaches forensics with a sense of warmth and community.

November: Back on the asynchronous grind at California Baptist University, Scott took 1st in Informative, 2nd in Communication Analysis, and 2nd in Prose. Despite all of this success, some of his best results were still to come. At the Nebraska-Lincoln tournament he was tournament champion in Communication Analysis, Persuasion, AND Individual Sweeps (and a 3rd in Informative to boot!). The cherry on top was at one of the most prestigious asynchronous tournaments of the season, the Norton at Bradley University. Scott’s recorded performances were awarded a quarterfinal finish in Prose, 2nd place in Informative, and 5th place in Communication Analysis. This was enough for 5th place in Individual Sweepstakes and 2nd place in Limited Team Sweepstakes!

Give Scott your congratulations! These accomplishments would be impressive over the course of an entire season, but Scott has another semester’s worth of tournaments to add to these impressive accolades. Stay tuned for an other profile in a couple of weeks.

Saeed Malami ’20 named the National Forensics Association’s TOP PERFORMER

Saeed Malami ’20 was named the top performer (Performer of Highest Distinction) in the National Forensics Association’s Performance of Distinction competition for Seniors.  Seniors were asked to submit recordings of four of their very best performances of the year for consideration by committees of coaches.  Saeed was a performer of distinction in ALL FOUR of his events.  He was awarded with Performer of Distinction recognition for his After-Dinner Speaking and Prose Interpretation Performances.  He was also awarded with the Performance of Highest Distinction in BOTH Poetry and Rhetorical Criticism.

In addition to Saeed, Chris Mayer ’20 was also named a Performer of Distinction for his performances in Extemp, Impromptu, and NFA-LD debate.  Andrea Rivera ’23 won Novice Performance of Distinction honors in Poetry and Lincoln Douglas Debate.

For more information, see the article on Lafayette Today:

Saeed Malami ‘20 tops all competitors at national forensics championship

John Boyer named NFA Tournament Director

Debate coach, John Boyer, was appointed as the National Forensics Association’s Tournament Director for the next three National Championship Tournaments!  His task is a difficult one, with the possibility of an interrupted season and post-season.  Planning one national tournament is hard, planning another one to take place online is a big ask!  Read more here:

 

John Boyer chosen to lead National Forensic Association’s national championship

Lafayette wins its 2nd consecutive Pa. State Championship!

While the National Forensic Association’s championship tournament won’t be starting tomorrow, Lafayette’s students are taking the opportunity to perform for two different online showcases!  Watch this space for a round-up of the accolades from those performances.  Until then, here is a retrospective on our 2020 PFA State Championship and a preview of those digital competitions!  Enjoy!

Forensics Society Dominates State Championship

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