UWP Forensics qualifies for Nationals

March 26, 2003

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PLATTEVILLE - The UW-Platteville Forensics Team will be traveling to Bloomington, Ill., to compete in the National Forensics Tournament April 17-21. The team qualified for nationals after a spectacular performance at Mankato, Minn., by Julie Raddatz, a senior majoring in agricultural education.

Raddatz credits her performance to all the help provided by former forensics director Daniel Dahlquist, fellow teammates and current director Martin Chislom.

"They have all helped me prepare and stay focused a great deal," Raddatz said. "[Chislom] made time available for practice whenever I could fit it in."

This year's UWP Forensics team consists of 20-23 participants. The students compete in a variety of different speaking categories such as oral interpretation, poetry, prose, after dinner speeches, dramatic duets and impromptu. Throughout the school year, the team members prepare their pieces for competition then travel to tournaments held in the tri-state area where they are able to compete with other schools to increase their communication levels.

Involvement in collegiate forensics helps students increase their reading and understanding of literature, stay informed on current events, continuously improve presentation skills and meet other students with more diverse cultures and backgrounds. The long-term goal for the organization is to increase the number of returning students to the team and recruit new members of a more diverse population. The team has also become more involved with promotion of collegiate forensics to students at the high school level through visits and hosting an annual high school tournament the first Saturday in March.

This year's tournament was held March 1. Fourteen high schools from the southwest Wisconsin region attended the tournament that was completely organized and ran by UWP students and faculty.

Chislom has been involved on and off with forensics for eight years and a part of the Pioneer Forensics Team since August 2002.

"These students work hard and give maximum effort with organizing tournaments and preparing for competition," Chislom said. "Jeremy Updike [UWP forensics president] has helped keep the team going by doing an outstanding job with his leadership role. We are all excited and looking forward to nationals."

Funding for the program is provided in part by the UW-Platteville Foundation Opportunity Fund, which awarded nearly $45,000 for 15 grants this year.

The UWP Foundation initiated the fund program in 1998-99, and the total number of grants thus far is 86, with a total monetary value of $411,000.

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