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May 3, 2005 > Ohlone forensics team brings home the gold

Ohlone forensics team brings home the gold

by Tony C. Yang

This is not the kind of forensics you'll hear about on CSI. This is speech forensics - the study and interpretation of the spoken word. Ohlone College's Forensics team has proven to be quite skillful in this field winning a record seven awards at the Annual Phi Rho Pi National Speech and Debate Championships held in Philadelphia April 9 - 17. Success in individual events and debates brought Ohlone its first-ever gold sweepstakes award in Parliamentary debate.

Five Ohlone students (Andrea Adams, Joyce Chuang, Cara Cuison, Erica Jubilado and Tony Yang) traveled to Philadelphia for the championships, competing against others enrolled at over 130 participating two year colleges.

"The team did great," said debate coach Dave Curtis. "I'm proud of all the effort and work that the team put into it and it paid off at the state and national tournaments."

What is more amazing is that until five years ago, there was no forensics program at Ohlone. However, with the help of committed communications instructors, the Ohlone Speech Communications Department has grown from a one-woman operation of the late Prof. Maggie Morrison to a growing Communications major and certificate field boasting three full-time professors and an increasing number of students.

The expansion has been evident in the forensic team's standings over the past two years. Last year was the first time Ohlone ever won gold at the national level. This year's performances at state level championships culminated in gold and silver wins for the team.

"It's been a great experience," said Chuang. "I've gained a lot and it's something I'll never forget." Chuang earned a bronze award in Impromptu Speaking, a category in which contestants are given a topic and a short time to prepare their speech.

Sophomores Jubilado and Yang made it to semifinal rounds in Parliamentary Debate. Earning bronze and missing silver by one vote, Yang said, "The worst part was waiting for the results, but I am extremely glad we had this experience."

The team feels its success was due, in part, to last-minute funding from the Associated Students of Ohlone College and the Ohlone Foundation. The team is grateful for the school's support and looking forward to next season. Chuang said; "I think the team can only get stronger from here on out. If anybody is interested, I say 'go for it' because you never know what you're missing."

Ohlone College Forensic Team
(510) 979-7402

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