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May 3, 2004
CONTACT: Carol Anderson

EMU students take top awards in forensics;
forensics team is fifth best nationwide

YPSILANTI - The Eastern Michigan University forensics team finished fifth nationwide and had three students capture individual awards at the National Forensics Association Championship April 15-19 at Western Illinois University, Macomb, Ill.

"It's huge.   The competition is vicious, but we (the team) have moved up one notch each year since 2000," said Brendan Kelly, EMU assistant director of forensics.

EMU's forensics team has finished in first place nationwide10 times since1973 and won 29 of the last 33 state titles.

EMU's Jacob Hodgson, a senior from Southfield, won for interpretation of prose. Michael Marion, a junior from Belleville, and Nina Brennan, a junior from Ann Arbor, won for dramatic duo.

Hodgson's prose interpretation, or storytelling, was a 10-minute performance about one day in the life of an 80-year-old man who would read out of a notebook to his wife who had Alzheimer's disease. It was their anniversary and he was concerned that she wouldn't remember him.

"The whole point of prose interpretation is to communicate a message," he said. One judge at the competition, whose grandmother died of Alzheimer's disease, thanked Hodgson for his treatment of the disease saying, "'I thank you and my grandmother thanks you.'"

"I wanted to touch someone's life some way, and I guess I did," said Hodgson, who has been a forensics competitor for four years.

Brennan and Marion condensed the play "Apartment 3A," by actor Jeff Daniels, into a10-minute performance.  

"We did different scenes and cut certain characters, but kept the main message which is believe in yourself and others around you," said Brennan, who has been on the forensics team for three years. "Forensics is more personal than acting and I like the intimacy with the audience."

In order of finish, the top five teams were: Western Kentucky University, Illinois State University, Bradley University, Arizona State University and EMU.

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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