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Poetry and speech contenders advance

March 14, 2012

Three Hood River Valley High School students were recognized this weekend for exemplary skills in recitation and public speaking.

Duncan Krummel, a junior and winner for Hood River County in the Poetry Out Loud competition, competed at the mid-valley regional contest in Corvallis on March 10 and successfully advanced to the state competition.

Krummel recited three pieces over the two-hour event, netting one of just three available advancement spots, competing against seven other winning students from Portland, Lake Oswego, Prineville, Salem and Springfield.

Upon completion of his rounds, Krummel then was rushed back to Hood River to perform in Saturday evening's drama, "Skin of Our Teeth," being held at the Bowe Theater.

Interestingly, two of the other top finishers against Krummel in the local Poetry Out Loud competition succeeded in advancing to national competition in a different form of public speaking.

Ty Bofferding and Jack Patterson, both juniors who debate together as a team, took the blue ribbon in "Public Forum" debate at a national qualifier event held at the University of Oregon March 8 and 9.

The annual Southern Oregon National Forensics League tournament draws about 25 competing schools and 30 teams, from Corvallis, Eugene, Bend and around the state.

Bofferding and Patterson secured one of just three spots for national competition.

"Their arguments were nuanced, sophisticated and well-researched," noted David Clarkson, HRVHS speech and debate coach.

Public forum debate requires teams to address new topics monthly that they must research and create arguments in favor of or in opposition to. They must be prepared to argue either for or against the topic based on a coin toss seconds before a 30-minute bout.

According to Clarkson, "They are indeed bouts of verbal and intellectual karate - sometimes very heated ... They were the only undefeated team at the two-day tournament and clearly outperformed all comers!"

The topic for the U of O tournament was: "Resolved, the U.S. should suspend all aid to Pakistan."

Patterson and Bofferding argued six rounds in the negative on the resolution and once in the affirmative. The two will go on to compete in Indianapolis, Ind., in June against 200 teams from across the nation. Both felt their many hours of topic research, case writing and anticipation of other team arguments helped them win the day.

Asked why they enjoy debate, Bofferding noted that he appreciated the opportunity to "learn how to structure arguments" and present himself as knowledgeable. Patterson enjoys "using what you've got to be persuasive. ... Plus, it's just a lot of fun." Between research, writing and practice, the two averaged 16-18 hours of work on the topic.

For Krummel, a win at state March 31 may place him in the running for scholarship dollars.

Now in its seventh year, Poetry Out Loud involves the memorization and recitation of classic poetry and culminates in a statewide competition. It is a free program for high school students throughout the state of Oregon. Nationwide, more than 300,000 students are expected to participate.

Participants compete for more than $50,000 in college scholarships awarded at the state and national levels.

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