Two students from the UK Speech and Debate Team traveled to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to take part in the oldest public speaking contest in the nation, the Interstate Oratory Nationals. Sophomore Veronica Scott and Freshman Joshua Finley are only the second pair of students to ever attend the tournament representing the University of Kentucky.
The Interstate Oratorical Association national public speaking contest has been held continuously since its inception in 1874. Each state is only allowed to send two competitors to participate on their behalf. In Kentucky, the two students are chosen at the Kentucky Forensic Association state championship tournament based off their performance in the event persuasive speaking.
Scott, who has been state champion in persuasive speaking for the past two years, earned the first qualification from Kentucky to this year’s national tournament. Her oratory advocates for reform within the scientific community to improve the transparency, replicability, and rigor of published scientific research. This is her second time attending the tournament representing UK. Scott was the first student in UK’s history to attend Interstate Oratory when she qualified for last year’s competition.
Finley earned the second qualification representing the commonwealth based off his strong performance in the final round of persuasive speaking at the state championship. His persuasive speech examines issues of mismanagement and disorder within the Department of Homeland Security since its creation in 2002 and suggestions methods of reform. Both speeches will be included in the published volume of winning orations from the Interstate Oratorical Association.
The University of Kentucky Speech and Debate Team is committed to training the next generation of civic leaders who are passionate about effecting change in their communities. To foster these skills, the team takes part in competitions throughout the southeast region of the United States. The Interstate Oratorical Association national tournament is the last competition of the 2016-2017 season. Over the summer, team members will begin preparing their speeches and performances for the upcoming academic year.
UK Speech and Debate is a student organization in the School of Information Science in the College of Communication and Information. The team regularly competes in twelve public speaking events and three forms of debate. To find out more, please visit the team’s website www.ukforensics.com.