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Speech Team


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The Department of Communication Studies sponsors a Forensics Team. For more information contact Sara Gronstal at segronstal@eiu.edu or 217.581.8326.

EIU Speech Team Fall 2014 EIU Speech Team







EIU Speech Update (Fall 2014):

Congratulations to the Eastern Illinois University Speech Team for a strong showing at the first tournaments of the 2014-2015 competition season. The team traveled to Indianapolis, IN for two tournaments.

On Saturday, September 19th, the team competed at the Audrey Cunningham Forensics 500. Marques Brown, a junior Corporate Communication major from Bloomington, IL, placed third in Poetry Interpretation, fifth in Dramatic Interpretation, and third in Duo Interpretation with senior Psychology major Bethany Oxford, from Norris, IL. Sophomore Political Science major Austin Mejdrich from Charleston, IL, placed second in Impromptu Speaking, and sixth in Informative Speaking.

On Sunday, September 20, at Butler University's This Day in History Tournament, the team took third place in team sweepstakes, with every member of the team bringing home at least one award. Marques Brown was the Tournament Champion in Dramatic Interpretation. Marques Brown and Bethany Oxford placed second in Improvisational Duo. Bethany Oxford placed second in Prose Interpretation. Austin Mejdrich placed second in Impromptu Speaking, second in Informative Speaking, and second in Editorial Impromptu. Sophomore Tyler Kahanec, a Pre-Business Management Information Systems major from Spring Grove, IL, placed second in Dramatic Interpretation.

What events do we do?

The team performs in three major categories: Public Address, Interpretation, and Limited Prep.  Public Address events are similar to speeches you might have prepared for a class: informatives, persuasives, speeches to entertain.  They last around 8 to 10 minutes, and are manuscript, meaning you write them out word for word, and then memorize them.  Interpretation events are kind of like acting.  In this category you find poetry, prose, drama and duo (which is like drama, but with a partner). You take someone else's work, and perform it.  Usually, these are works by newer authors that your audience might not have heard of.  Limited preparation events are events where you draw a topic at the tournament, and then have a short amount of time to prepare and present a speech.

What does your coach do?

As a coach for the team, in addition to traveling with the team, I help the team prepare for competitions.  I do this by helping students find topics and pieces for performance, and also assist in the writing process as students are composing their speeches.  I don't write speeches for students, but I will help you edit them, and find resources.  I also like to have at least one weekly individual coaching appointment with students so that we can touch base on their progress on speeches, do any edits, tweak performances, and that kind of thing.

What are you expected to do?

How much time you devote to speech is up to you.  Some students might choose to go to only one tournament a semester and only focus on doing 1 to 2 events really well.  Other students might choose to travel quite a bit more, and take on 5 to 6 events.  Your commitment level is determined by you.

What's a college tournament like?

The Speech Team is a nationally competitive team that travels to competitions at other universities and colleges (mainly we travel to close tournaments in Illinois and Indiana as there are quite a few around here).  Students on the team prepare speeches to deliver (for the majority of events, you'll have the same speech all year long).  Students compete in small preliminary rounds, and then the top 6 students advance to a final round.  Most tournaments take place over the course of one day, but we often travel to Swing tournaments, which are two tournaments held on the same campus, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.

Are scholarships available?

At the end of a semester, you can apply for a scholarship for a tuition waiver for the semester (for example, in December, you'd apply for a waiver for your Fall tuition).  These scholarships are competitive, and are awarded to the students who have shown the most time commitment and involvement in the team.  The basic requirements for application are as follows:

  • GPA of 2.75 or higher
  • Regular attendance at weekly team meetings
  • Participation in weekly individual coaching appointments with coach/director
  • Travel to at least 3 weekends of competition per semester
  • Preparation of at least 3 individual events by the end of the semester
  • Completion of the Department TSA/GIA application form, to be returned to the Director of Forensics for review and approval

Up to 8 scholarships are currently available, with each scholarship covering up to 12 credit hours worth of tuition.