Oratory Union Shows Promise for 2014 Tournament Circuit

October 15, 2013

Though their official tournament circuit has yet to begin, Florida College’s Oratory Union has already completed its two pre-season tournaments, which indicates promise for another competitive season of public speaking.

The Oratory Union (formerly known as Forensics) is a student organization that focuses on debate, various styles of public speaking and the oral reading of literature in a competition setting.

This year, long-time coach Dr. Matt Johnson is joined by Kathleen Trigg, the College’s newest communication professor, who Johnson accredits with having “already brought a tremendous amount of experience and energy to the organization”.

On September 26 the Union traveled to Tallahassee to compete only in the debate portion of the Capital City Classic Invitational. There, the competitive duos of Jonah Alvarez and Noah Diestelkamp placed 4th (2-1), Valerie Deering and Andrew Jonas placed 3rd (3-1) and veterans Melody Baughman and Andrew Gass finished 5-0 as tournament champions.

The following weekend the Union traveled to Lakeland to compete in the Child of the Sun Invitational, giving members a chance to showcase their individual skills in impromptu speaking, informative speaking and several dramatic categories.

Jonah Alvarez and Noah Diestelkamp placed 3rd in duo interpretation, Valerie Deering placed 3rd in poetry interpretation, Andrew Gass placed 2nd in informative speaking and Melody Baughman placed 2nd in rhetorical criticism and 3rd in impromptu speaking.

Though the Union graduated several core members last year, Dr. Johnson notes that the team is “far from a rebuilding phase”, noting several returning talents and an influx of “high-potential freshmen”.

However, Johnson emphasizes the Oratory Union as serving a greater purpose than competition alone.

“The goal is two-fold,” he said. “To develop students into leaders,” noting that several of his competitors have gone on to enter the legal field, “And to engage the student body in art and cultural issues.”

“As is often noted, the number one skill desired in employees is the ability to communicate clearly, effectively and persuasively,” he continued. “It’s part physical, part reason — it’s all about connecting with people.”

We congratulate the Oratory Union on their recent tournament successes, and wish them the best as they prepare for their competitive circuit.

For more information on the Oratory Union, contact Dr. Matt Johnson at JohnsonM@floridacollege.edu