College of Central Florida students competed for the first time in three years at the Phi Rho Pi national speech and debate competition April 5-11 earning seven awards.
The Phi Rho Pi competition for community college students featured 44 schools from 10 states (three schools from Florida) and 262 students. The competition features public speaking and interpretation individual events, along with three forms of debate. CF had six students compete in 13 events.
Eileen Hernandez earned three individual awards: a Bronze in Poetry and two Golds in Communication Analysis and Persuasive speaking. This is the first time CF has earned any individual event awards. Additionally, Hernandez earned fourth place for the Bovero-Taber individual sweeps award, meaning she finished in fourth place among 262 other competitors. The CF team took home a Silver award (or third place) in the Hindman Division. This division includes the most teams with 33 schools entered. Finally, Hernandez was awarded the Warren-Dahlin Fellowship Award for Region 8. Dr. Matthew Maddex was also awarded the Collie-Taylor Fellowship Award in Region 8 for being one of the best coaches in Phi Rho Pi forensics.
“I could not be prouder of how this team competed at the Phi Rho Pi competition. In-spite of all of struggles we have faced, our team came together and finished with a Silver award being the third best team in the country,” said Maddex, associate professor of Speech and director of Forensics. “I am in awe of what they have accomplished. We are so excited about our results this year and cannot wait to go in person to Phi Rho Pi next year and build upon what we have done.”
Hernandez has one more competition next week, the Interstate Oral competition, the oldest public speaking competition in the U.S. She will be one of two representatives for the state of Florida.
In intercollegiate forensics, which includes speech and debate, students compete in team and individual events in a variety of areas including interpretation of literature (prose, poetry), public address (informative and persuasive), limited prep events and several platform speeches. The forensics association enables students to not only improve their speaking skills but also develop a stronger understanding of the communication field as a whole.