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Even with the campus shutdown and live speech tournaments canceled, LPC student Casey Hamilton finished third place for a Speech to Entertain, “Adapting to Adulting,” during a speech tournament on March 25.

The tournament was organized and conducted by Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. The tournament was held using Zoom and YouTube. The first two rounds were conducted using conference software Zoom, while the final round was conducted using YouTube Live.

Hamilton said she was adapting to the new format. 

“As much as I rather prefer to perform my speeches in person,” Hamilton said. “I believe that under the circumstances we are in right now and what the future holds for forensics, this is an amazing opportunity to still be able to perform your speeches that you work so hard on in front of an audience. The most difficult thing was finding a good performance space, where it wasn’t too loud nor distracting from the speech you were giving.”

Danny Cantrell from Mt. San Antonio College developed a software program used by forensics tournaments throughout the nation. With the cancellation of every face-to-face tournament across the country, Cantrell has been working to find a way to allow students to finish the school year with some online competitive opportunities. The result was a software package for speech tournaments.

Platforms such as Zoom, YouTube and that developed by Cantrell have allowed the Talk Hawks to continue to participate in speech tournaments. This year, a National Tournament will be held on April 25 and 26 using synchronous video conferencing programs. 

The National Tournament is being called a festival according to Cantrell.  

“While the festival hopes to mirror much of the traditional championship practices,” Cantrell said, “we should say from the start that we are not trying to replace CCCFA, Phi Rho Pi, AFA, NFA, etc. Online video conferring is a far cry from the traditional forensics model. We do not aim to replace traditional forensics tournaments or championships hence, the purposeful use of the word ‘festival’ to describe this event. However, we also want to provide a space for students to showcase their talents and skills.”

Another potential tournament format is students entering taped presentations to the judge who will score and rank the entries over several days.

The Talk Hawks plan to participate in a few more tournaments this semester using online formats. 

Alan Lewis is the photo editor of The Express. Follow him @alolewis1.

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