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Forensics Team Wins Big in Pennsylvania

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ The Forensics Team at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh is having a winning season this semester. The team recently competed at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Penn., beating both Cornell University and Pennsylvania State University. This win ranked SUNY Plattsburgh number one in Division 3 Forensics.

"We have been very fortunate with the team this year," said Nora Montanaro, lecturer in communication and the team's faculty advisor. "They are very young and very willing to work hard for the team's success."

Forensics returned to Plattsburgh about three years ago as a two or three credit course. The College was the first school in the region to originally offer Forensics, which boasts many prominent alumni as former team members. Montanaro was a member of the Forensics team when she was a student at SUNY Plattsburgh and competed with fellow members including Dawn Fratangelo, a 1982 alumna and currently a correspondent with Dateline NBC .

During tournaments, the team is graded by judges on different aspects including presentation, emotion/expression, audience interaction and content. Competitions include After-Dinner Speaking, Oral Interpretation, Informative Speaking, Poetry Interpretation and Impromptu. Judges range from journalist and lawyers to politicians and professors.

"Forensics is like a full-time job," said senior Tonia D'Agostino, the team's vice president. "You have to be devoted and love public speaking."

Forensics is divided into three divisions, which are determined by the number of students on a team. SUNY Plattsburgh is in Division 3, but competes against both Division 1 and 2 schools.

This year's team is diverse, with students ranging from freshmen to seniors. 

"This is my first year on the team," said D'Agostino, a communications major from Highland Mills, N.Y.  "I'm in my last year of school; I wish I had known about this in my earlier years."

Nick Kelly said that the Forensics Team has given him many experiences that can later be applied in real-life settings.

"Forensics has helped me in so many ways," said Kelly, a freshman from West Islip, N.Y., and team treasurer. "I have learned about time management, as well as valuable research skills. I've learned about poise and diction, and my speaking skills have improved very much."

The Forensics Team will continue to compete at tournaments until they qualify for nationals.

"The students who participate in forensics are ambassadors for Plattsburgh," said Montanaro.  "They help show the academic reputation of our school. They are true leaders."

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