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Cassidy Johnson

Freshman Cassidy Johnson '21 finished first overall in the Novice Division of Poetry Interpretation at the National Forensic Association's National Championship Tournament.

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Academics

Applied math student wins Pacific Forensics’ first national championship in over 30 years

May 9, 2018

This April, the Pacific Speech and Debate (Forensics) team won its first national championship in more than 30 years.

Freshman Cassidy Johnson '21 finished first overall in the Novice Division of Poetry Interpretation at the National Forensic Association's National Championship Tournament, held at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Johnson, an applied mathematics major with no previous speech competition experience, competed against senior competitors in early rounds and then advanced to the Novice Division with other first-time competitors. She interpreted characters from several poems to argue her topic of cultural disadvantages in education.

Throughout the season Johnson received help from coaches and teammates to craft nuanced and purposeful lines and non-verbal gestures.

Five Pacific students competed in this national tournament: Johnson, Megan Chatelain '18, Joslynn Howard '19, Andrew Morgan '18 and Ravi Prasad '20.

Morgan and Howard were the team's two senior competitors in persuasive, informative and interpretive speaking. Howard placed first in multiple events this year and won the Northern California Forensics Association's Cynthia Sutherland Award as the region's top speech competitor at the spring championship

The students faced more than 1,000 students from universities across the country in 11 speech events including persuasive, informative, impromptu and interpretive events. Less than 30 percent of students who entered made it to elimination rounds.

Unlike debate, speech students are not ranked throughout the season but they do compete in regional tournaments against their peers.

Chatelain and Prasad collaborated to help Prasad finish 31st in Lincoln Douglas debate, a one-on-one format that features speeches, rebuttals and cross-examination.

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