Author: John Boyer (Page 2 of 10)


PHILADELPHIA, PA – Saeed Malami (’20), has won the Interstate Oratorical Association’s (IOA) 145th 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 has been held without interruption every year since. Two students are selected by each state to participate. In 2019, the representatives from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania were both students from Lafayette College (Saeed Malami and first-year Lia Charles). They attended the tournament this past weekend (April 27-28). Coincidentally, the tournament was held this year in Philadelphia, PA.

Against the best competitors from each state, Saeed finished in the top 12 that advanced to a semi-final round. He advanced to the finals, which was held in the Independence Visitor Center overlooking the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. In the final round, Saeed gave a stunning performance and the judges crowned Saeed Malami as the 145th Interstate Oratorical Association’s national champion.

Attending this prestigious competition is an honor. Lafayette has a long history of representing Pennsylvania at this tournament. We have placed students in the semi-final round, but Saeed is Lafayette’s first finalist and is our first champion (and only the second from Pennsylvania). Past IOA competitors include William Jennings Bryan, Senator Robert LaFollette, and Senator George McGovern. Saeed’s championship broke barriers in the forensics community. He is the first Nigerian and is likely the first non-US citizen to win the competition. As his coach, I’ve seen firsthand the deep dedication he has given to this performance. His speech on child slavery within the chocolate industry has been a passion project rooted in academics and a personal connection to the topic as a West African.

Congratulations, Saeed!

Lafayette Finishes Strong at NFA Nationals

SANTA ANA, CA – Lafayette Forensics travelled to sunny Santa Ana, California for this year’s National Forensics Association’s Championship Tournament.  For one week, the members of the team left the dreary spring weather behind for the California sunshine.  Over 80 schools competed in the tournament that completes the team national championship calendar.  After Novice Nationals, Pi Kappa Delta, and the National Speech Championships, the squad was read for one last chance to perform.  Lafayette competed and won awards in both Speech and Debate, one of the few schools to do so.  The tournament was highlighted by Luisa Gunn’s extraordinary performance in debate that placed her tied for 5th in the nation and Saeed Malami finished tied for 13th in Persuasion and DI!  Luisa’s performance, along with her teammates, was enough to earn Lafayette 6th place in Debate sweepstakes, a major improvement over last year’s 10th place finish.  It was an excellent tournament and several finishes, like Kelly Mwaamba’s 4th place finish in Novice Poetry, are sign of great things to come for Lafayette Forensics!

Luisa Gunn – Quarterfinalist in LD Debate
Saeed Malami – Quarterfinalist in Persuasion, Quarterfinalist in Dramatic Interpretation
Ansh Mishra – Triple Octofinalist in LD Debate
Kelly Mwaamba – 4th place in Novice Poetry

6th place in Debate Team Sweepstakes

Lafayette finishes 14th at the National Speech Championship

OAKLAND, MI – Lafayette College attended the third ever National Speech Championship at Oakland University in Michigan.  Director Scott Placke traveled to this tournament with four students.  Eleanor Griffiths, Scott Kamen, Saeed Malami, and Kelly Mwaamba competed in 13 events across all three genres.  The team finished in 14th place, its highest ever finish at this prestigious tournament.  The individual results were highlighted by Saeed Malami’s success in Persuasion and Dramatic Interpretation.  Saeed was a national finalist in BOTH events, taking 4th place in each of the two final rounds.  Scott Kamen and Kelly Mwaamba also advanced to the elimination rounds.  These strong performances propelled the small squad into the top 15 in the nation!

Scott Kamen – Quarterfinalist in Persuasion and Communication Analysis
Saeed Malami – 4th Place in Persuasion, 4th Place in Dramatic Interpretation, Quarterfinalist in Dramatic Duo
Kelly Mwaamba – Quarterfinalist in Dramatic Duo, Quarterfinalist in Dramatic Interpretation

Team Sweepstakes – 14th place

Ansh Mishra Excels at Pi Kappa Delta Nationals

HEMPSTEAD, NY – Over the second half of spring break in March, Lafayette College attended the Pi Kappa Delta Biennial Convention and Tournament hosted by Hofstra University.  Coach John Boyer and alum James Hilbert coached Ansh Mishra and Anastasiia Shakhurina  in debate, limited preparation, and interpretation events.  The tournament is one of the largest and oldest national tournaments in the nation!  After competing over four grueling days, Ansh received a superior award in Extemporaneous speaking.  This means he was in the top 10 percent of the event nationwide.  He also received an Excellent award (top 30%) in Impromptu speaking.  Anastasiia just missed the cut off in Prose interpretation.

Ansh Mishra – Superior in Extemp (9th out of 141 competitors) and Excellence in Impromptu (24th out of 182 competitors)

Novice Nationals Results!

BOWLING GREEN, OH – In March five of our novices traveled to Bowling Green State University in Ohio for the Novice National tournament. Lafayette has a long history of success and even novice national championships and that success continued in 2019.  Lauren Stango is the 2019 Novice National Champion  in Prose Interpretation!  We are so proud of the novices and expect big things from them in the future.  The tournament is excellent preparation for the rest of the national tournament calendar and sets the students up for success and education as their first year comes to a close.

Lauren Stango – 1st place Prose, 3rd place Impromptu Sales, 4th place Dramatic Interpretation
Kelly Mwaamba – 2nd place Poetry Interpretation, 5th place Impromptu Sales, 5th place Slam Poetry, 6th place Dramatic Interpretation
Lia Charles – 4th place Rhetorical Criticism, 4th place Slam Poetry, 5th place Persuasion

Team Sweepstakes – 4th place


Northern Tier Debate Conference Champs!

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, OH – The Northern Tier Debate Conference concluded in March at John Carroll University.  The conference is six tournaments long and is also hosted by Lafayette, Clarion University, St. Anselm College, Ithaca College, and Hillsdale College over the course of the academic year.  The NTDC consists of schools from Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Hampshire.

Over the course of the six tournaments, results and points are tracked to create season-long awards.  Congratulations to all of the NTDC award winners (Lafayette students, in bold):

Top Open Division Debater
1st – Sarah Stevenson-Peck, Penn State
2nd – Zak Zinda, John Carroll
3rd – Anshuman Mishra, Lafayette

Top Open Division Speaker
1st – Zak Zinda, John Carroll
2nd – Pammy Boulas, Capital
3rd – Sarah Stevenson-Peck, Penn State

Top Novice Division Debater
1st – Yordanos Mengistu, Lafayette
2nd – Bohan Xu, Penn State
3rd – Nolan McClung, Capital

Top Novice Division Speaker
1st – Nolan McClung, Capital
2nd – Stephanie Mooney, Ithaca
3rd – Yordanos Mengistu, Lafayette

NTDC Team Sweepstakes
1st – Lafayette College (Anshuman Mishra, Luisa Gunn, Yordanos Mengistu)
2nd – Pennsylvania State University (Sarah Stevenson-Peck, Elisa Vogel, Bohan Xu)
3rd – Central Michigan University (Gabrielle Pruitt, Bainbridge Scully, Gabe Butzke)

Congratulations to all of the award winners and especially Anshuman Mishra and Yordanos Mengistu for their individual awards.  The entire debate team contributed to our individual and team successes.  Luisa Gunn was instrumental as Lafayette’s third point scorer in the team sweepstakes race.  Chris Mayer, Lia Charles, Hank Scheffler and Emily Song all contributed to our success!


EASTON, PA – In February, Lafayette Forensics Society hosted the Pennsylvania Forensics Association’s (PFA) State Championship. After months of preparation, the team reached its goal and won the state championship for the first time in 11 years and only the second time ever. Individually, SIX different students were named state champions and LFS was represented in the finals of 11 out of 13 events. 

The state tournament is also responsible for selecting two members from the state of Pennsylvania to represent the state at the Interstate Oratorical Association’s (IOA) annual tournament.  The IOA tournament is the longest running public speaking competition in the nation and is limited to only two students per state.  Lafayette Forensics Society has the honor of representing the state with not just one, but TWO students.  State champion in Persuasion, Lia Charles, and 2nd place finisher Saeed Malami earned the right to compete at this prestigious and exclusive competition. 

Anshuman Mishra was even elected to serve as one of the student representatives to PFA for the coming academic year. Every team member can be proud of the work they put in this weekend!

State Champions:
PERSUASION – Lia Charles
DUO INTERPRETATION – Saeed Malami and Kelly Mwaamba

Full Results:
Saeed Malami 1st DUO, 2nd DI, 2nd PER, and 3rd POI
Scott Kamen – 1st CRIT, 3rd Duo, 3rd INFO, 4th PROSE, and 5th PER
Lauren Stango – 1st DI, 3rd DUO, and 3rd PROSE
Kelly Mwaamba – 1st DUO, 3rd DI, and 4th POE
Lia Charles – 1st PER, 3rd CRIT, and 6th EXTEMP
Luisa Gunn – 1st LD, 3rd PER
Anastasiia Shakhurina – 5th PROSE and 6th DI
Eleanor Griffiths –  6th ADS
Jenny Chen – 6th POE
Kaitlin McNamara – 6th POI
ordanos Mengistu – 2nd LD

Team Sweepstakes – Champions

Individual Accomplishments:
Individual Sweepstakes/Quadrathon: Saeed Malami 3rd Place; Scott Kamen 5th Place
PA State Rep for 2019-2020: Ansh Mishra
Interstate Oratory Participants: Lia Charles and Saeed Malami

The team is ecstatic about how States turned out and is looking forward to the remainder of the semester!

Lafayette Forensics travels far and wide over the Winter Interim

PEORIA, IL, ST. LOUIS, MO, and ATHENS, OH – The Lafayette Forensics society traveled to three tournaments during the 2019 Winter Interim Session. On January 12th and 13th, the team participated in the Hell Froze Over Swing Tournament. Hosted by Bradley University in Peoria, IL, this tournament is the biggest and most difficult tournament of the year.  Teams from all over the country compete for the highest honors in preparation for the national tournament season.  The team brought 6 students, each of whom got valuable experience in their quest to improve. Despite not winning any awards, the team was able to spend some time in Chicago visiting Millenium Park, the Bean, and the Art Institute before returning to Pennsylvania.

During the weekend of January 26th, the team split sending our debaters to the national circuit Gorlok Gala at Webster University in St. Louis, MO and our speechies to the Ohio University Interstate Individual Events Tournament in Athens, OH. At the Gorlok Gala, our team brought 5 students and 42 schools were represented. The Gorlok Gala is the biggest debate tournament in the country.  More students competed in debate at this tournament than will compete at the national tournament in April.  This tournament is a defining moment in the season for debaters from all over the nation.  After a long three days of competition, we got the opportunity to stop by the arch on our way to the airport! Here are the results:

Gorlok Gala- Webster University:

Yordanos Mengistu – Semifinalist in Novice LD
Hank Scheffler – Quarterfinalist in JV LD
Luisa Gunn – Excellence Award in Persuasion

In Ohio, our team brought 4 students and 9 schools were represented. As an excellent warm-up to the spring semester season, the team won two events and placed well in several others.  While the debaters got to visit the Arch, the Ohio crew was exploring the winding roads of West Virginia.

Ohio University:

Saeed Malami – 1st Place in Duo, 1st Place in Drama, 2nd Place in Persuasion, and 3rd Place in POI
Kelly Mwaamba – 1st Place in Duo, 4th Place in Poetry, and 5th Place in Drama
Scott Kamen – 5th Place in Rhetorical Criticism
Eleanor Griffiths – 6th Place in After Dinner Speaking

Additionally Saeed took 2nd Place in Individual Sweepstakes!

The Lafayette Forensics Society had a great opening to 2019 and is ready for the Spring Semester!  Next up: Ithaca, James Madison, and the Pennsylvania Forensic Association’s championship tournament!

Lafayette Forensics Society wins titles at Clarion and Seton Hall

CLARION, PA and WEST ORANGE, NJ – The Lafayette Forensics Society finished up October with wonderful accomplishments. Over the last two weeks the team traveled to Clarion University and to the Ed Leonard Memorial Tournament at Seton Hall University. All of our new members have now started their inagraual college forensics season.

On October 20th and 21st, the Lafayette Forensics Society competed at the second Northern Tier Debate Conference tournament of the year. The team brought 8 students entered in debate and speech events. The tournament had 8 schools represented.

Ansh Mishra – 1st Place in Extemp and 3rd Place in Impromptu
Luisa Gunn – 1st Place in Persuasion

Ansh Mishra – Semifinalist in Open LD, 3rd Place Open LD Speaker
Luisa Gunn – Quarterfinalist in Open LD
Kevin Manogue* – Semifinalist in Novice LD, 2nd Place Novice LD Speaker
Yordanos Mengistu* – Semifinalist in Novice LD, 4th Novice LD Speaker

*= College Forensics Debut

On October 27th, the Lafayette Forensics Team competed at Seton Hall University. The team brought 7 students and the tournament featured 10 schools. Against regional teams, 5 LFS members made it to final rounds. In addition, the Seton Hall Forensics Team awards one individual competitor the Ed Leonard Memorial to someone they deem as embodying the essence and friendliess of the forensics community. The team is proud to have Jennie Richardson as this year’s recipient!

Chris Mayer – 1st Place in Extemp
Ansh Mishra – 3rd Place in Extemp and 6th Place in Impromptu
Scott Kamen – 4th Place in Persuasion and 6th Place in Informative
Kelly Mwaamba – 5th Place in Drama
Jennie Richardson- 5th Place in Poetry

Next up, the Lafayette Forensics Society will be traveling to St. Anselm College. Watch this space for more updates throughout our competitive tournament season!

Lafayette Forensics Starts 2018 Strong

EASTON, PA and WEST CHESTER, PA – The Lafayette Forensics Society has had an impressive showing to start their 2018-19 tournament season. Over the last two weeks the team hosted the 11th annual OCHOIE Invitational, and traveled to the Carolyn Keefe Forensics Memorial Tournament at West Chester University, showcasing our new and returning competitors.

On October 6th and 7th, the Lafayette Forensics Society kicked off the year with 15 students entered across debate and speech events in the friendly confines of our own campus. 12 schools were represented and the tournament launched the second year of the Northern Tier Debate Conference. Thanks to the support of countless alumni judges, the tournament ran without a hitch and our students performed extremely well!

Scott Kamen – 1st Place in Informative, 1st Place in Persuasion, and 3rd Place in Prose
Chris Mayer – 1st Place in Impromptu and 2nd Place in Extemp
Saeed Malami – 1st Place in Drama and 4th Place in Persuasion
Ansh Mishra – 2nd Place in Impromptu
Lia Charles* – 2nd Place in Persuasion
Kaitlin McNamara – 2nd Place in POI
Luisa Gunn – 3rd Place in Persuasion, 5th Place in Extemp, and 6th Place in Impromptu
Kelly Mwaamba* – 3rd Place in Drama and 5th Place in Poetry
Jennie Richardson – 3rd Place in Poetry and 6th Place in Prose
Fatma Mahmoudi* – 4th Place in Prose
Ben Fuller* – 6th Place in Extemp

Ansh Mishra – Quarterfinalist in Open LD, 4th Place Open LD Speaker
Luisa Gunn – Quarterfinalist in Open LD

*= College Forensics Debut

On Saturday, October 13th, the Lafayette Forensics Team competed at West Chester University. The team brought 14 students and the tournament featured 13 schools. Against stiff competition, the team had 3 finalists, and won two sweepstakes awards, including the first team championship of the year. In addition, three LFS members were nominated for the best audience member award, a special feature of this tournament.  Congratulations to Scott Kamen, Jennie Richardson, and William McAlpine for receiving this honor!

Saeed Malami – 2nd Place Drama
Scott Kamen – 3rd Place Prose
Ansh Mishra – 5th Place Extemp
Team – 1st Place in Pi Kappa Delta Sweepstakes, 4th Place in Overall Sweepstakes

After a successful start to the season, the Lafayette Forensics Society is traveling to Clarion University and Seton Hall University over the next two weeks.  Watch this space for more updates throughout our competitive tournament season!


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