Evening of champions

Evening of champions

Katie Zee


Co-Directors Brian Schanen and Emily Leong brought a showcase of the UW-Whitewater Forensics Team’s talent to Summers Auditorium. On Apr. 6, three team members gave four speeches and performances on diverse topics. Here is a rundown of the night!


The first performance of the night was a communication analysis by Kolden Severson, a senior majoring in elementary education. His piece was about how a group of men are using AI chat software to be misogynistic towards women. Although the women they are talking to are fake, Kolden argued that we need to put a stop to this behavior because these men will learn how to abuse real women. He said that they are practicing manipulation tactics such as gaslighting and they are normalizing this behavior. Chatbots are “blurring the lines of what social conversation should be,” said Kolden.


The second performance was a program oral interpretation by Megan Ehle, a freshman majoring in biology. She acted as different characters to portray the effects that eating disorders have on those who suffer from them, as well as the glorification of them. She took excerpts from a viral article titled “5 Reasons to Date a Girl with an Eating Disorder” by an unknown male writer, and a satire article of the same title by Megan Maughan and intertwined them with acting out what people with eating disorders actually feel. She changed her voice and her mannerisms to fit each character. She juxtaposed the cool and calm male voice of the original author with the powerful and emotional voices of the people with eating disorders.


The next performance was something a little different. It was an Impromptu speech by Kolden Severson where he was given the topic on the spot and had to write and preform the speech in a matter of minutes. The topic was a quote about privilege. Kolden pulled it all together on the spot and spoke as if he had rehearsed it. He offered examples that included a nun named Lavinia Byrne, an anime titled Demonslayer, and a TikToker named Keith Lee. These seemed like random examples, but he brought them all together to prove his point that “when we understand our privileges, we can use them to help others.”


The last performance of the night was a dramatic interpretation by Amanda Eaton, a junior majoring in communication. She played the mother of two twin girls who are now adults, one of which she also played in the performance. “My mother’s story is one of strength,” she said, speaking as the child. The story was about the perseverance that the mother had while raising children while their father was caught up with drugs. She mentioned how he was doing herion with his friends, who were strangers to her, in the backyard after their children’s first birthday party. After their father left, she had to find an apartment to move her girls in to. She delayed a surgery she needed to this, and was moving boxes when she was supposed to be resting. The story had elements of humor that were sprinkled in to show how the mother still has a sense of humor after all that she had sacrificed and that she was happy to see her children all grown up, making it all worthwhile. 


Coming off their victory of finishing 8th place at the National Speech Championship, the UW-Whitewater Forensics Team is heading to NFA competition this weekend. Wish them luck!