January has been a busy month for the Pacific University Speech and Debate team.
In January alone, the team hosted two speech and debate tournaments: one for high school students and one for college students.
The Hap Hingston Invitational for high schoolers took place on Jan. 13 and 14. Pacific’s Speech and Debate team took an active role in the tournament by judging certain events, getting food for participants, organizing scores and rankings and being there to answer questions.
The Scheller Invitational was the college-age tournament that took place over the weekend of Jan. 27, 28 and 29. In addition to being hosts, the speech and debate team participated and won awards at their own invitational. Each tournament has speech and debate divided into smaller, categorized events.
There are various events that Pacific participates in both as a team and as individuals. The forensics team competes in humorous “After Dinner Speaking,” “Duo Interpretation” (two person performances), Poetry, Prose, “Dramatic Interpretations,” “Extemporaneous Speaking” and “Persuasive Speaking.” Every member on the team usually competes in one to five of the events.
Pacific’s Speech and Debate team currently has 11 members and two coaches. According to Bri Castellini, a sophomore and two-year member of the team, “We try to compete and carry ourselves with integrity, practice hard and have fun.”
While they don’t have officers, the team has two senior members: Lindsay Murray-McLaughlin and Lilly Huynh. The other members of the team, including Castellini, are Gustavo Morales, Colton Markham, Erin Dozhier, Maria Sandoval, Michael Sproles, Alex Hatch, Matthew Yasuoka and Ryan Terao. The speech and debate team is coached by media arts Professor Dan Broyles and assisted by David Maile, a recent Pacific graduate.
For many, speech and debate is a confusing subject. What exactly goes on during a tournament?
In speech events, students are assigned a random room with three to five other competitors in an event and they each have their turn performing. At the end of the round, the judge rates the performance. After three or four rounds, the competitors with the highest cumulative scores will enter a final round and the winner is determined from the results of the final round.
In debate, two competitors are randomly paired and they debate a topic. The judge determines the winner based on who had the more effective argument. Points are awarded in both speech and debate for speaking style, fluency and strength of content.
As far as the different events that Pacific’s forensic team regularly participates in, “…some of us prefer more theatrical performances, like poetry interpretation. Some of us prefer platform speaking, like persuasive or informative speaking, when the student writes their own speech on a topic that interests them. Some of us prefer debate, where we square off against an opponent on a philosophical idea or a current event,” explained Castellini.
When asked about the success of the team, Castellini said, “We’ve won tons of awards; I can’t think of a tournament we’ve been to in my two years that no one has gotten an award at. We’ve also won several team awards for cumulative scores.”
For Castellini, it’s not just about the success of the team, it’s about the sense of family that she gets from being a part of such a small, tight-knit team. “After all the awards have been given out and we all load back into our van, it doesn’t matter whether I’ve won or lost, whether I’ve kicked butt or fallen short. These people, these wonderful, crazy people are my family. And I wouldn’t trade the experiences and trips and conversations I’ve had with them for anything else in the world.”