Sophomore places first in OI at speech tournament

November 16, 2017 — by Anna Novoselov

Sophomore Anishi Patel stood in front of a panel of three judges at the CFL Speech 1 Leland Bret Harte League tournament on Nov. 5, struggling to appear composed despite her nerves. She went over her speech in her head, pinpointing areas she would emphasize and mentally rehearsing the dramatic flairs she had incorporated into “Did you hear the one about the Iranian American?” by Iranian comedian and actor Maz Jobrani.

Later that night, Patel stood with a first-place medal for Oratorical Interpretation around her neck, beaming with pride. She had expected only to break to semifinals and was surprised when the judges declared her the tournament champion.

Patel thinks the humor present in her speech was what set her apart from the other 60 Oratorical Interpretation competitors.

Patel said that she made almost all of the judges laugh. She tried to “re-enact Jobrani’s humorous personality” while revealing the racial discrimination present in the world.

“She delivered [the speech] well, emphasizing the humorous parts and putting a lot of emotion in it,” sophomore Exempt speaker Prisha Samdarshi said.

In the speech, Jobrani presents the controversial topics of racism and stereotypes in a jocular way. He incorporates jokes and personal anecdotes to describe how his ethnicity has impacted his life.

Patel said that she found these subjects significant in the modern world and liked Jobrani’s unique way of presenting.

“It was meaningful and it made me laugh; I figured I’d be able to work with it,” Patel said.

After each consecutive round, Patel was better able to step into Jobrani’s character and perform the speech confidently and correctly. She said that she felt proud of how she did in the semifinal round, but still did not expect to place first.

“I was mainly just surprised,” Patel said, “so I hope the year will be full of more surprises like that.”

The rest of the team also achieved impressive results at the tournament, such as breaking to semis. Junior Arian Raje placed 11th in International Extempt. Head Coach Chris Harris said that the team did better than he expected, for many new members competed against varsity speakers.

Harris said that he was extremely proud of Patel’s performance.

“If anyone deserves to win, it’s someone with a positive attitude who always tries her best,” Harris said, “and Anishi is both.”






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