Grand Valley State University (GVSU) sent its first ever competitor to an intercollegiate speech competition this past weekend. Bradyn Mills, a first-year student majoring in Advertising and Public Relations and a founding member of the speech team, traveled to West Lafayette, Indiana, to enter two tournaments. The “Purdue Boiler Bash” was hosted by Purdue University on Saturday and the “Illini Cornfield Clash” was hosted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Sunday. Both tournaments were held on the Purdue University campus as part of a “swing” weekend when schools may enter two consecutive contests.
Offering all eleven events recognized by the National Forensic Association (NFA), and two experimental events (Radio and Public Narrative), the tournaments drew competitors from sixteen schools, including Northwestern University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Illinois-Chicago, East Michigan University, and others. Bradyn entered two events: Impromptu Speaking (speaking about a prompt with a limited amount of preparation time) and After-Dinner Speaking (a humorous special occasion speech, often with a persuasive or informative goal in mind).
During the first tournament, Bradyn advanced to the open finals of After-Dinner Speaking, placing 5th overall in the event. During the second half of the swing, he was recognized by the tournament as the top novice speaker (the best speaker in his or her first year of collegiate competition) in After-Dinner Speaking.
SoC faculty members Isaac Simon and Dr. Richard Besel also attended and served as judges for the tournaments. According to Simon:
Brady worked diligently in the weeks leading up to his first collegiate forensics competition but was somewhat nervous because his previous experience was at the high school level. The increase in his confidence was evident half way through the first day of competition. After placing 5th in after dinner speaking it was obvious that Brady was in his element and ready to take on the challenges of university level competition.
The fledgling speech team is off to a great start. Congratulations to Bradyn and the team! And thank you to Dr. Richard Besel and Mr. Isaac Simon for spearheading this effort!