Forensics Team Orates into National Tournament

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Forensics Team Orates into National Tournament

Marina Whitchurch (left) alongside Mariah Noah.

Marina Whitchurch (left) alongside Mariah Noah.

Joe Barkoff/Oak Leaf

Marina Whitchurch (left) alongside Mariah Noah.

Joe Barkoff/Oak Leaf

Joe Barkoff/Oak Leaf

Marina Whitchurch (left) alongside Mariah Noah.

Tara Kaveh, Staff Writer

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Santa Rosa Junior College student Mariah Noah and teacher Marina Whitchurch qualified to attend the two oldest and most prestigious forensics tournaments in the country, the 114th Interstate Oratory Tournament in Los Angeles and the American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas.

This is the second time an SRJC student has qualified, but it shows Noah and fellow student Jakob Christenson are the top ranked forensics team in the California Community College’s division.

Whitchurch and Hal Sanford are the directors of SRJC’s forensics team. “We have a very motivated group this year,” Whitchurch said.

The entire team excelled in its regular tournaments and many will move on to regional and national rounds.

Noah stands out by qualifying for two national tournaments. Her qualifying speeches are a persuasive speech on the rights and concerns of intersex people and a comical “after-dinner speech” addressing the problems of current sex education.

“Debate is one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done,” Noah said. “It has given me a taste of success, helps me achieve at a high level and helps me to start making changes in the world.”

Her persuasive speech details the problems facing children born with ambiguous genitalia. One out of every 500 children is born this way and common knowledge on the concept is poor. Often, doctors perform surgeries to correct these abnormalities at birth. Without any prior testing, they choose whether a new baby will become a boy or girl. The resulting generation of intersex people have serious concerns about a sexual identity artificially chosen for them, and their parents have no resources or support. Noah speaks about this malpractice and tries to raise awareness on this concerning yet little-known issue.

Noah’s after-dinner speech deals with the problems of sex education in a comical manner. It addresses the heterosexual viewpoint around which our current sex education curriculum revolves and the total exclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender concerns. She also speaks about the lack of positive discussion about women’s bodies in the curriculum and argues it should teach women to be proud of their bodies when learning about them.

This is Whitchurch’s sixth year being involved in a forensics team, but the SRJC forensics team is open to anyone, regardless of prior experience. The team is part of SRJC’s Speech 52A class and prepares students for novice forensics tournaments. The class deals with all forms of speech, from poetry and impromptu speaking to debate. The forensics team gives students opportunities to compete in and be a part of a vibrant debate team.

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