SpeakEasy Showcases Speech and Debate Skill

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Uma Raja

Communications sophomore Sophie White performs her original oratory “Dye-ing of Embarrassment” which discusses the way judgement is perceived in our society. “SpeakEasy was extremely successful this year,” communications senior and debate team co-president Riley Freese said. “Parents rarely get to see their children in action, so SpeakEasy provides them a window to this rare opportunity.”

Uma Raja, Arts Editor

The debaters are in their places, the morning sun is shining, and guests have begun to filter into the hallways. There’s only one event that this could be-SpeakEasy, the biggest speech and debate fundraiser of the year.

From 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 10, SpeakEasy transformed Building 1 into a giant mock debate tournament. The publication room became the heart of an extemporaneous speaking round, film rooms housed individual events like original oratory, and the debate room became a congress chamber. Fifty students performed their preferred forensic event in front of an audience that consisted of family members, teachers, and peers. In regular speech and debate tournaments, those not debating are prohibited from watching events, so SpeakEasy is a unique opportunity.

“It gives other people, like parents and outside spectators, a chance to see what’s going on inside the debate team,” communications junior Jake Perl said. “In terms of fundraising, it gives people a chance to see what their money is going towards, like what they’re helping specifically.”

A buffet table provided attendees with donuts, bagels, muffins, and other goods appropriate for the morning. Many students who were not performing volunteered to set up food and ensure that the event went smoothly.

“We had more volunteers and underclassmen participation than ever before,” communications senior and debate team co-president Riley Freese said. “I hope the success of SpeakEasy allows our teams to do bigger and better things this season.”

Guests had plenty of opportunities to learn more about forensics. A paper placed in front of each room gave background information about specific debate events, and when debaters finished their presentations they engaged in a question and answer session with attendees.

“I think it went really well, parents were excited to see the students and students did a fantastic job,” communications dean Angela Anyzeski said. “It helps us subsidize tournaments and it also allows parents to see their own children perform, which they normally don’t get to do in competition. I wish more people would come out and see what the kids do.”