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Brownson Speech and Debate Team Starts Semester With Award-Winning Competition  

Brownson Speech and Debate Team October 2018Seton Hall University's Forensics Brownson Speech and Debate Team returns this year with a strong start, taking home double first place team wins and 46 total awards after a competition on October 5-7 at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.

After finishing the last school year with several strong wins, six of the team's returning members travelled to the double header speech tournament to set the stage for a semester of continued success. Seton Hall's Forensic Brownson Speech and Debate Team is known for its tradition of rhetorical excellence, stemming back over 75 years. The team travels across the United States to compete in a wide variety of speaking events.

Senior co-captains, Jocelyn Rogalo and Jonathan Thow, led the group by being awarded as the top two overall speakers at the tournament on both days. In addition, all top six overall speaker spots were awarded to Seton Hall speakers on day two of the competition. Rogalo championed both tournaments with her first place wins in Poetry, Informative Speaking, Prose and Dramatic Interpretation. Thow was the After-Dinner Speaking champion on both days and came second behind his teammate in Poetry and Prose. Sophomore Olivia Klein won first place in Poetry and finalled in many other events as well.

"Starting my senior competition season with Jocelyn has been very special. We have both grown tremendously in the past three years and our team has never been stronger," Thow stated. "When we shine in competition it is because we focus on the broader impact of our speeches and not just on winning trophies. If we can impact just one person with each speech, then there is a ripple effect as that person carries our messages into their other areas of life."

Also of note are sophomores Aliezah Hulett, Jordan Shepherd and Brian Sumereau, who received finalist positions in Extemporaneous Speaking, Persuasive Speaking, Program Oral Interp, Communication Analysis, Informative and After Dinner Speaking.

Team Director Catherine Zizik, associate professor of communication in the College of Communication and the Arts stated, "Our society is so focused on data and numbers; sure, we count awards and add up wins, but that is only a small part of what our Brownson speakers bring to a place of higher learning. Student messages of advocacy and artful performances that move the heart, mind and spirit is what Brownson is all about. What really makes this team work is our coaches, however. They are special, talented people who understand the importance of this activity. They sacrifice countless hours both on the road and in the classroom to help these students succeed. Without coaches, there is no Brownson Speech Team!"

Faculty coaches who mentored the team include Head Coach Sam Hopkins, and assistant coaches Erica Genabith, Stephanie Gomulka, and Angela Kariotis, who is also a dramaturge. Zizik's praise of the coaches include her assurance that they will continue to work tirelessly to bring out the best in these students.

Categories: Arts and Culture

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  • Laurie Pine
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