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Nine Lafayette students will compete in 17 speech events and eight debate events at the National Forensics Association Championship Tournament April 18-22 at Berry College in Mount Berry, Ga. Up to 100 teams are expected to attend, fielding a total of 1,500-2,000 competitors.

As a team rehearsal, Forensics Society will perform about a half-dozen individual event pieces 7 p.m. Monday, April 15, in Jacqua Auditorium of Hugel Science Center. The event is free and open to the public.

“It should be a very enjoyable entertaining night for all,” says Scott Placke, individual events coach. “Audiences are wanted and welcomed. This is a great opportunity for the campus to find out what speech is all about.”

The following Forensics Society members will compete at Berry College: Jeremy Bennett ’05 of Riverside, Pa., Lincoln Douglas debate; Jennifer Rusak ’04, a neuroscience major from Ashley, Pa., informative speaking, Lincoln Douglas debate, persuasive speaking, and rhetorical criticism; Pavlos Lykos ’05 of Easton, Pa., after-dinner speaking, informative speech, and Lincoln Douglas debate; Erik Heins ’05 of Center Moriches, N.Y., dramatic duo, extemporaneous speaking, impromptu speaking, Lincoln Douglas debate, and rhetorical criticism; Amy Carson ’02, a double major in English and psychology from Pennington, N.J., Lincoln Douglas debate, persuasive speaking, and prose interpretation; Paul Kritzler ’05 of Monkton, Md., Lincoln Douglas debate; Alex Sarris ’04 of Northford, Conn., a government and law major, Lincoln Douglas debate; Kenya Flash ’03 of Coopersburg, Pa., a government and law major, informative speaking, poetry interpretation, and prose interpretation; Rachel Korpanty ’04 of Summerville, S.C., after-dinner speaking, dramatic duo, poetry interpretation, and prose interpretation.

“I think it is pretty remarkable that a first-year student, Erik Heins, is the Lafayette competitor who is taking the most events to the National Tournament,” says Placke. “He never competed in forensics before this year (some people compete in these activities in high school).”

Last year, Rusak placed 35th in the nation in Lincoln-Douglas Debate at the national tournament, joining teammates who placed 17th and 33rd.

“Nationals was a lot of fun last year,” she says. “It gives us an opportunity to see competitors from all around the country. I really learned a lot at nationals last year. I think last year’s experience will pay off.”

“The national tournament will be the peak of my forensics career here at Lafayette,” says Flash. “I have been doing this activity for three years, and the experience keeps getting better.”

“I have been working with this material all year,” notes Korpanty. “I am looking forward to putting it to the ultimate test at Berry College.”

“I love forensics,” adds Bennett “It is a great way to meet other intelligent people and to toss around the most socially relevant ideas of the times.”

“My biggest goal for nationals, as a coach, is to make sure the students feel fully ready and prepared,” says Placke. “This will probably be the last time any of them perform this material. I want their memories of their final performances to be positive ones.”

Bruce Allen Murphy, Fred Morgan Kirby Professor of Civil Rights, is director of forensics.

Categorized in: Academic News