Seton Hall Forensics Brownson Speech and Debate team finishes the academic year with approximately 310 awards, including 56 first place trophies over the course of 18 competitions.
The students also ranked first overall in speech in the National Christian College Forensics Association National Tournament this past March.
The Afternoon of Eloquence on April 25 celebrated the accomplishments of the students and presented excerpts from the different speech activities that the students partake in – limited preparation, public address, oral interpretation and parliamentary debate.
Catherine Zizik, director of the team and professor of communications, explains what exactly forensics means. Forensics relates to investigation, and in the debate team's case, the dissection of language and crafting messages to put on the stage.
Thomas Heim, '67, a speech and debate alumnus, visited the team and said, "The students' intellectual levels are astounding. They really know how to grab the attention of the listener, and engage the audience with every detail from their posture and eye contact to conveyed emotions, inflections and elevations in their voice. Using current research tools, standing confidently before an audience and expressing ideas based upon facts, are crucial skills which these students embrace to near perfection."
Juniors Jocelyn Rogalo and Jonathan Thow, the team's co-captains, each took home 15 first place trophies this year. Jonathan is considered a "triple threat," who competes in three different genres of speech – poetry interpretation, impromptu, and public address. He and Jocelyn also perform in duo interpretations.
Freshmen team members Olivia Klein, Brian Sumerau, Jordan Shepherd, Aliezah Hulett and Teahyah Carver represented top novices in the National Tournament, with several first place trophies. Next year, the team will also be welcoming four incoming freshmen.
Zizik said, "It's wonderful to have this group of students who are so dedicated to the activity, however, the talent behind the scenes is what makes all of this possible. Without the coaches, these awards wouldn't be as plentiful as they are."
Also mentoring the students are Head Coach Sam Hopkins, Public Address Coach Erica Genabith, Interpretation Coach Stephanie Gomulka, Dramaturge Coach Angela Kariotis, and Limited Preparation Coach Goyland Williams.
"It's important to know that Brownson is not simply a group that travels outside the university," Zizik said. "They also speak in classes, peer coach projects for oral communication, act as tutors, and speak at recruitment events. Their service to the University is truly exemplar."
The team averages a 3.68 GPA, and are held to high expectations academically, in addition to the thirty plus hours a week they spend practicing in the months leading up to tournaments.
The speech and debate team practices four areas of speech. Oral interpretation of literature incorporates a dramatic retelling of a story, program of poetry or dramatic monologues, using the whole body to interpret the author's meaning. In limited preparation speaking, students are given a quotation and have a few minutes to prepare a speech about it. Another limited preparation event called extemporaneous speaking regards matters of current political, economic, social or global affairs. Students who enter events in public address speak about various topics in either an informative, persuasive or entertaining manner. Lastly, parliamentary debate relates to a group of two students arguing in favor of a certain position and resolution, with two others debating in opposition.
For more information on Brownson Speech and Debate team visit here »