Taking GMU By Storm

Yejin Lee ‘23

Recently, the Ridge Forensics team went on a travel tournament to Virginia for the George Mason University Patriot Games Classic 2019. Traveling for 4 ½ hours, the Ridge students made their way to their tournament. 


After painstaking hours of sitting in a coach bus for far too long, they finally made it to their hotel, a cozy Residence Inn where they all hurried up to their rooms after a tiring day. But that wasn’t the end of it. Behind the room doors, the competitors stayed up to practice their speeches and prepare for their rounds. All were determined to do their very best the next day, they wore determination on their faces and pride in their hearts. 


On the first day of their tournament, the students woke up early and prepared for their rounds. They put on clean, slick suits of all kinds, combed their hair, brushed their teeth, slipped on their dress shoes, and headed out the door, with a healthy (if waffles are healthy) breakfast. Quickly, in excitement, the competitors all piled into the bus and rode to George Mason University. After their swift arrival, the students hurried into the Johnson Center, which they would soon become familiar with, and got prepared for their rounds. Of course, not without the warm-ups, including a series of vocal exercises ready to get their blood coursing. In a rush, the competitors scrambled around the university campus in hopes not to be late to their rounds. The first day of their competition consisted of 3 grueling preliminary rounds. Though 3 may not sound like a lot, it is enough to tire you out. In between rounds, competitors would either choose between the fun of eating and chatting with friends or the safer choice of practicing their speeches and preparing for their next rounds. Let’s just say that most did not prefer the latter. But amongst the sugary milkshakes, greasy pizzas, and mouthwatering burgers, everyone was under anticipation and stress for their speeches and competition. Work hard, play hard as some say.


On the second day of the tournament, stress levels were peaking. This was the day that results came out. People would soon reach quarterfinals, then semifinals, and at the end of the day finals. The anticipation and nerves between each round would build by the hour. Competitors were getting weeded out one by one, but Ridge still stood strong and tall. At the end of the day, results came out for finals and it was a total success. For Declamation, Jocylen Tan, Bryan Liu, and Humphrey Chen. In Dramatic Interpretation, John Tondora placed third and Miah Vesotsky placed fifth. In Extemporaneous Speaking, James Gao and Mason Krohn both broke (another term for making it to finals), and in Informative Speaking Audrika Chattaraj placed fourth. For Lincoln Douglas debate Tanvi Namjoshi made second place, and for Oral Interpretation Kathy Wei got first place! In Original Oratory, an event where competitors write their own speeches, Joshua Lee placed fifth. Lastly, for Congressional Debate Mason Krohn was the tournament champion. Most exciting, Ridge High School got first place in Team sweepstakes, with 240 points, Ridge made up around 21% of all the sweepstakes points out of 10 schools! 


The George Mason University Patriot Games Classic was an overall win for the Ridge High School Forensics team this year, and we hope to keep these results on high.