Speaking up

Camille Yameen

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December 3, 2010

Junior Camille Yameen literally talked her way into Bradley. As a high school student from Liberty, Missouri, she competed in Bradley’s annual speech tournament, where her stellar performance landed her a scholarship and the opportunity to join one of America’s premier collegiate speech teams.

On December 3 and 4, 353 students from 16 high schools across the country had the chance to follow in Yameen’s footsteps. The George Armstrong Heart of Illinois Invitational has been held annually on Bradley’s campus for more than 30 years. This year, contestants hailed from six states.

“The perennial success of Bradley’s Forensics Team, under the direction of Dan Smith, draws talented students from as far away as California to this tournament every year,” said Betty Jane Lawrence, associate dean of the Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts. “They’re looking for the opportunity to work with a dedicated leader and collegiate team accustomed to bringing back championship trophies.”

Yameen says the invitational is a great learning experience for high school seniors who plan to carry their passion for forensics into their college experience.

“Many of the college tournaments we [Bradley’s Forensics Team] go to are run very much like this tournament, with four or five events per individual,” Yameen said. “It served as a great training tool for what I would be doing for the next four years.”

Hosting the invitational comes with a lot of hard work and responsibility from the Bradley Forensics Team especially during the week of the event. The team must put together ballots, gather judges, and assign rooms. Yameen and teammate Cate Cosme are in charge of the ballot table, meaning they must check all the ballots that come in after the rounds are judged.

“We hope that the high school participants gain a greater appreciation for this activity,” Yameen said. “We really like putting on this tournament because it calls for some of the most elite, competitive high school speech students from across the nation to come and compete on our campus. It really is awesome to see kids younger than us love speech as much as we do.”

Yameen points out that the tournament offers high school students a window into what a Bradley experience can offer. For those interested in competitive speech, it could include joining a powerhouse team.

“We want to encourage high schoolers to continue to pursue speech in college, so this tournament serves as somewhat of a recruitment tool, allowing them to see college kids who do speech and a nationally ranked speech team.”

For proof that visitors are getting that message, Yameen looks no further than her own story.

“I wanted to be on the best speech team, and this tournament made it possible,” Yameen said.