FREEPORT, ILLINOIS — The Highland Community College Forensics Speech & Debate Team placed third in the Regional competition from March 23-24 at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights, Ill. This was their final preliminary tournament before Nationals on April 5 in Reno, Nev.
Of the 12 schools in attendance, Highland earned a Silver Trophy in both individual events and overall team sweepstakes. The Regional Tournament is the last stop before traveling for the end-of-the-year National Tournament. Coaches from across the region often provide the competing students with quality feedback on judges’ critiques to help prepare students for the competition.
“We really like to make sure we bring our ‘A Game’ to Regionals,” explained Brit Williams, a coach. “This is how our students receive the best quality critiques, so we can use all the suggestions other coaches and judges made and incorporate that feedback into their final performances.”
When asked about their favorite moments of this tournament, team captain and sophomore Alec Aurand stated, “It was awesome to see all my teammates break their events into finals and it was even better to see Highland do so well.”
“To me, this tournament is more than performing well competitively,” state Bill Lucio, Highland Forensics Coach, and Speech Instructor. “It’s about making memories and meeting new people.”
Lucio urges his students to make friends with their fellow competitors all year, but particularly at Regionals. Then, when competing at a large tournament like Nationals, students not only see a familiar face but also someone from the region to cheer on and encourage.
The Student Fellowship Award is voted on by the students for the best representation of Forensics. Highland Sophomore, Luthien Jonis was the 2019 recipient of the award, which was named after a student who previously competed for Highland Community College, so Jonis was proud to bring the award back home where it originated.
“I couldn’t believe it when I won. Everyone always tells me to just be myself, to believe in myself, and good things will happen. And that’s what I always try to do. It feels amazing to have been recognized for doing just that,” said Jonis.
Lucio is proud to represent and promote the success of the Midwest. “At Nationals, if any of our regional school’s success, we succeed because we go from a team of nine to a huge team of 60 as we try to beat the other regions.”
Regional Tournament Results:
Luthien Jonis: The Student Fellowship Award for best representative of Forensics in our Region
Alec Aurand: 2nd Place/Silver Award in Extemporaneous and Impromptu Speaking
Michelle Johnson: 2nd Place/Silver Award in Informative Speaking
Maggie Finazzo: 3rd Place/Bronze Award in Poetry Interpretation
Payton Demichele: 3rd Place/Bronze Award for Prose Interpretation
Photo Caption: (back row, left to right) Lucas Boomgarden, Tommy Tempel, April Woolcock, and Luthien Jonis (front row, left to right) Michelle Johnson, Payton Demichele, Maggie Finazzo, and Alec Aurand