by Victoria Cameron
Over fall break, Concordia’s speech team hosted and competed in a swing meet on campus.
Junior Faith Greenmyer, a student assistant to the speech team, said the meet is called a swing because it is actually two tournaments.
“There’s a tournament on Saturday, and then a separate tournament on Sunday, but they happen in the same place,” Greenmyer said.
The different tournaments shuffle the judges to different events, and competitors into different orders, but otherwise the events are composed of the same people with the same prepared speeches. It’s another chance to qualify to go to nationals for the National Forensic Association or the American Forensic Association. The qualifying tournaments consisted of two preliminary rounds and then finals. Placement in the finals determines if competitors qualify for nationals.
Concordia had competitors place in both meets. On Saturday, senior Tationa Trice placed first in dramatic interpretation, and freshman Philomena Williams placed first in poetry.
When the speech team isn’t competing, they’re preparing to compete. Up until December, they have meets and competitions almost every weekend. They prepare by meeting weekly to practice in front of each other.
The speech team hasn’t always been so busy or successful, which may explain the general lack of knowledge about them. Decades ago, the speech and debate team was successful, but interest died down. Four years ago, professor Andrew Moffitt because the new speech team director, and he built the program back up. Last year, they brought in now-head speech team coach Joe Davis. These leadership changes brought about higher recruitment and renewed excitement about the speech team.
The speech team is comprised of people of all different majors. Not everyone competes–there are three subsections of the group. Some people travel and compete, others compete sometimes, and the rest work on the technical side of preparing speeches, doing “homework.”
“The purpose of all of it is that you have some sort of idea, or something you’re enthusiastic about, something you’re just passionate about talking about,” sophomore Jacob Garrison said.
The speech team is heading towards being a speech and debate team again. Within the next few years, the team will build up their debate skills the same way they rebuilt their speech skills. All students who want to be a part of that growth are welcome to join, even if they don’t want to compete.
“We are open to people who have done speech before, people who haven’t done speech before but want to try it out, people that have done drama and want to translate it to speech, and we’re also always looking for people that are willing just to do the speech homework,” Greenmyer said.