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March 17, 2023

SVSU students qualify for national competitive speaking competition

Woman and man standing with trophies

Two Saginaw Valley State University students have qualified to compete at the National Forensic Association National Championship in April. 

Evangeline Cruz, a communication major from Detroit, and Nimnan Wuyep, an international studies and communication major from Nigeria, have each qualified to compete in three events. Cruz will present in Poetry, Prose and Persuasive Speaking; Wuyep’s events are Poetry, Dramatic Interpretation and Persuasive Speaking. 

Wuyep said he’s learned more about himself by participating in competitive speech. 

“It did ignite a competitive spirit I didn’t know I had but it helped me learn how to balance my confidence with other skill set,” he said. “Getting to compete with individuals from different schools is also a great way to make new friends.” 

To qualify for the national competition, students in competitive speech must place in the top 6 of their chosen events at any competition throughout the academic year. Cruz qualified while competing virtually in the No Coast Championship, which was hosted by South Dakota State University in February. Even though this will be Cruz’s third time at the national championship, she expressed enthusiasm about earning her spot at this year’s event. 

The No Coast Championship was my first tournament this academic year,” Cruz said. “I was studying abroad last semester and had no opportunity to compete or prepare in events ahead of time. Being able to qualify at my first tournament this year was unexpected for me and made me feel even more excited about qualifying.” 

For Wuyep, qualifying for the national championship makes all his hard work worth the effort. “It feels exhilarating (to qualify)”, he said. “I’m really looking forward to new challenges and opponents.” 

Both Cruz and Wuyep have found value in competitive speaking.  

“Speech has helped me develop confidence as a person and has taught me important and valuable skills, including communicating to others effectively and developing critical thinking skills,” Cruz said. “Communication is everywhere and through everything we do, and being able to participate in public speaking allows you to develop valuable skills that truly help you exceed as a professional.” 

The National Championship will be held at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, April 13-17.