The University of Lynchburg Debate and Forensics Club placed fifth in Team Sweepstakes at a College Forensics Association tournament held Dec. 1 and 2 in Middletown, Va. Students from 13 colleges and universities competed, with Lynchburg’s team of five up against much larger squads of 15 to 20 members.
“Team Sweepstakes is basically overall performance,” club president Justin Cummings ‘19 said. “It’s based on the total number of points that each person on the team got. You get points by doing well in each event, so the more events you do, the more points you’ll net for the team.”
Lynchburg was awarded high speaker points in the following categories: Original Oratory, Interpretation, and in limited-preparation events including Debate, Impromptu, and Extemporaneous Speaking.
Club members also did well individually. Chelsey Fix ’19 placed second in Declamation, third in Single Dramatic Impression, and third in After Dining Speaking. “Chelsey has done amazingly well and is currently doing six events, almost the maximum that one competitor can do,” Cummings said, adding that she “is definitely the MVP of this year.”
Fix explained After Dinner Speaking as “where you take a serious topic and you turn it into a funny speech that can’t just be a string of jokes,” and said, “I’ve learned so much, not only about endangered ducks, which is what my speech is on, but about other serious topics that are going on all over the world.”
Graduate student Mimi Digifa placed sixth in Prose and she and Fix teamed up to place sixth in Duo Dramatic Interpretation. For this event, Digifa and Fix portrayed two kidnappers involved in human trafficking. “[It’s] a serious issue and raising awareness is the key goal of why we perform the piece,” Fix said.
Fix, a management major with a minor in theatre, started competing in forensics as a student at Rustburg High School. As a senior, she won the Virginia state championship for Serious Dramatic Interpretation.
Now at Lynchburg, Fix said she uses her debate and forensics skills every day, “from arguing about policies in my economics class to giving presentations in all of my other classes,” and that competing has boosted her confidence and organizational skills as well.