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April 20, 2006
CONTACT: Ron Podell
734.487.4400
ron.podell@emich.edu

EMU student places second in national poetry category; forensics team finishes fifth in nation

YPSILANTI — Led by one student who placed second nationally in the poetry category, Eastern Michigan University’s forensic team finished fifth nationwide at the National Forensics Association Championship April 14-17 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

“We were pretty happy. They were the most ready they’ve ever been for nationals,” said Stacy Gressell, an assistant director of EMU’s forensics team. “Their attitude was increasingly positive and they were very supportive of each other.”

Rachon Massey, a junior from Flint, placed second in the nation in the poetry category. He read his poem, “Listening to Your Inner Voice,” which recalled Massey’s experience discussing forensics with a homeless woman outside a McDonald’s. During a regular-season forensics competition in November 2005, the homeless woman asked Massey why he was all dressed up. Massey explained he was participating in a forensics competition, which the woman didn’t understand.  To bridge the communication gap, Massey then  executed  a forensics performance for her.

“That experience was pivotal for him,” Gressell said.

In addition to Massey’s performance, EMU also had  two semifinalists (top 12 per category) and 13 quarter finalists (top 24). Junior Emily Winderman, of Yardley, Pa.,  made the semifinals in rhetorical criticism and junior Vanessa Boatright, of Shelby Township,  reached the semifinals in poetry.

Eastern Michigan’s forensics team has finished in first place nationwide 10 times since 1973 and won 33 of the last 35 state titles.

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their careers and lives, and to be better citizens.

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Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.


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