Forensics Team Plays Host to High School Competitors

Posted: January 3, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Emma Epstein

Last month, Mason’s award-winning Forensics Team members shifted their roles from competitor to mentor while hosting the fourth annual national invitational Patriot Games tournament for their high school counterparts.

Competing teams hailed from 62 high schools representing 20 states across the country, from as far away as California, Iowa and Florida. The students competed in 12 different events: 10 forensics events, including poetry interpretation or storytelling; and two debate events.

Head Coach Peter Pober founded the competition after arriving at Mason five years ago. He says it has become a valuable way for high school and college students to interact within the common context of forensics.

“High school forensics competitors are gaining skills for the first time, and as such, the learning curve is huge,” Pober says. “In college, it’s those who have done it before taking their skills to another level.”

Mason students gain valuable event and project management skills by planning the logistics of all aspects of the competition, from arranging for food service to getting ballots printed. They also gain composition practice by writing questions with the guidance of Assistant Director Jason Warren for the two improvised forensics events.

Pober also touts the interaction with younger students as a helpful means of identifying and recruiting strong freshman team members.

“In many cases, they [the members of Mason’s team] are better recruiters than I am,” he says.

The Forensics Team is the university’s most successful academic team. Since its inception in 1971, the team has won more than 14,000 trophies, recently finishing second overall in the most competitive intercollegiate forensics competition of the fall semester, the 60th Annual L.E. Norton Forensics Tournament at Bradley University, Peoria, Ill.

This article originally appeared in a slightly different format in CHHSconnection.

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