RANDOLPH, NJ- Some 500 high school students dressed in formal business attire flooded into Randolph High School last Saturday for the Randolph Fall Classic, the annual speech and debate tournament hosted by the RHS Forensics Team.
Students competed in a variety of events such as Public Forum Debate, Lincoln Douglas Debate, Congressional Debate, and speech events such as Humorous Interpretation, Prose, Poetry, and Declamation. The tournament was organized and run by the RHS Forensics Team under the guidance of Head Coach Peter Quinn and Assistant Coach Kristin Poff.
Reflecting on Saturday’s marathon event, Coach Quinn said, “It’s always difficult to wrangle (and feed) so many people, but I think with our parents generously donating their time and resources and our students pitching in throughout the school, we made the event a great success. Allowing so many students to compete at such a high level is something we take great pride in. Now that our home tournament is over, the team is looking forward to a great speech and debate season this school year.”
Summit High School, Montville Twp. High School, and Ridge High School took first, second and third place respectively in team sweeps.
This year, in the wake of the terrorist strikes in Paris, several members of the RHS Forensics Team organized a fundraising drive to support Doctors Without Borders in France. Students sold red, white, and blue ribbons in memory of those who perished and in support of those injured in the attacks.
Explaining the genesis of the ribbon drive, Forensics team member Bryn Bennett said, “My teammate Caitlyn Dempsey and I were bothered by the amount of people making social media posts about the terrorist attack in France but weren't doing anything to help the issue. We decided we wanted to raise money to help the cause.” Another driver for Bennett was her work developing a thesis around the notion of “slacktivism,” a term intended to differentiate between action designed to solve an issue and acts which merely raise public awareness of an issue.
Many Forensics team members along with members of the RHS International Leaders club helped make the ribbon pins and hair bows that were for sale at the tournament. Bennett said, “I couldn't be more grateful for the amount of kids who spent money to buy a ribbon and wear them during the tournament.” She was thrilled to see so many young adults caring about world events and wanting to make a difference. More than $300 was raised during the tournament, but that figure should increase as ribbon sales continued.