CORVALLIS - An Oregon State University speech communication student from Tigard made it to the semifinal round of the Great Alaska Speakout.

Kathy LaVeine, a sophomore from Tigard, teamed up with Renee Rider, an OSU senior from Phoenix, Ariz., to place in the top four among the nation's top collegiate speech teams at the Anchorage competition.

"We did really well and OSU was in first place after the preliminary rounds," said LaVeine, a 1997 Tigard High School graduate. "In the semifinals, we lost 3-2. The topic for OSU in the semifinals was - 'Resolved: English should be the official language for government.'"

"This competition featured the top 10 teams in the nation in parliamentary debate," said Trischa Knapp, OSU director of forensics and assistant professor of speech communication. "This is a most impressive finish for the team, since it will make the OSU speech team one of the early season favorites."

Among the competitors were Salem's Willamette University, Texas Tech and California's Point Loma Nazarene.

Although only a sophomore, LaVeine is an OSU forensics veteran who traveled with the OSU team last spring to the International Forensics Association Championships in Lisbon, Portugal. In Lisbon, LaVeine made it to the semifinals in impromptu speaking.

Continuing a 60-year tradition at OSU, the forensics team involves members from all majors and schools on campus. Each year, students compete in state, regional and national intercollegiate tournaments. Events include parliamentary debate, individual public speaking formats such as informative, persuasive, and after-dinner, as well as a range of oral interpretation categories involving prose, poetry, and drama.

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Trischa Knapp, 541-737-5392