For Immediate Release
August 10, 2017

No Argument: A Young Suffolk Speech and Debate Team Makes Its Mark Nationally

Team photo (L to R); Faiz Shakir (Deer Park), Heather Mannkopf (Sayville), J.T. Brockmann (Medford), Rihana Joseph (Brentwood), Team Camptain Austin Santiago (Commack), Christopher Chiusa (West Islip), Bree Dougherty (Farmingville), Coach Christopher Holfester

The Suffolk County Community College Forensics team competed at the Talk Hawk Invitational Tournament held at Las Positas College in Livermore, CA last weekend.
  • Austin Santiago—3rd Place — After Dinner Speaking
  • Heather Mannkopf—7th Place — Persuasive Speaking
  • Heather Mannkopf—Top Novice — Persuasive Speaking
  • Rihana Joseph--4th Place — Program Oral Interpretation
  • Rihana Joseph—Top Novice — Program Oral Interpretation
  • Rihana Joseph—Top Novice — Prose Interpretation
  • J.T. Brockmann—Top Novice — Dramatic Interpretation

"Our team is composed of first-year competitors with the exception of returning captain Austin Santiago," said Director of Forensics and Coach Thomas Bovino. "Our goal is to place at the Phi Rho Pi national championships in April," Bovino said and added, "at this point, we are doing well but need to continue making progress and polishing our work so that we can have a good showing at nationals. The students are continuing to add in new work in each tournament and are rehearsing regularly to reach a consistently high level of performance."

The highly competitive tournament was attended by 18 other colleges, including:

  • Chabot College
  • City College of San Francisco
  • Columbia College
  • Contra Costa Community College
  • California State University—Chico
  • Diablo Valley College
  • Hartnell College
  • Las Positas College
  • Los Medanos College
  • Modesto Junior College
  • Mt. San Antonio College
  • Ohlone College
  • Parliamentary Debate at Berkeley
  • San Francisco State University
  • San Jose State University
  • Santa Rosa Junior College
  • Solano Community College
  • Speech at Berkeley

The Suffolk team is coached by Thomas Bovino, director of forensics, academic chair of communication studies/tv/radio/film; Christopher Holfester, head coach, professor of communication studies; Ron Staniec, volunteer assistant coach, adjunct instructor of communication studies and Fatima Dar, volunteer debate coach, former Suffolk team member.