Paul Consalvo ’16 had tried out all sorts of categories on Jesuit’s Speech and Debate team. Congressional Debate, Policy Debate, Public Forum Debate – Consalvo had dabbled in each, never sticking to one.
Then he watched the competitors in Humorous Interpretation.
“I thought, ‘Hey, I think can do this,’” Consalvo said.
Humorous Interpretation involves acting out a script for comedic effect, whether an original script or one from a play, movie, etc. Consalvo took his first crack at it in the fall, using a script derived from the Robin Williams movie "The Birdcage."
This spring he has hit his comedic stride. One of the team’s coaches, Don Moffett, P ’16, found a script that was a satire of Speech and Debate competitions. It fit perfectly with Consalvo’s style and sense of humor.
Consalvo put more effort into his preparation this time, and Feb. 7 weekend at a National Forensic League national qualifying event in North Port, he nailed it. Consalvo earned first place and a trip to Nationals.
He had to perform three times that weekend as he advanced in the competition.
“My confidence kept going up each time – (the judges) were laughing,” Consalvo said. “By the time I got to the final round I was at my peak.”
Led by Consalvo, the Jesuit team overall did extremely well, placing 2nd out of 32 schools. Cullen Finley ’17 was a finalist in International Extemporaneous Speaking, and three others were semifinalists in their respective events: Alex Fiore ’16, Jackson Moffett ’16, and Gantt Meredith ’16.
With his first-place finish, Consalvo will take a trip to Dallas in June to compete in the NFL Nationals. And he’s in pretty good comedic company. Among others who have qualified for NFL Nationals in Humorous Interpretation are John Belushi and Stephen Colbert.Next up for Speech and Debate is a State Championship event Feb. 28 weekend in Orlando, and then a National Qualifying event March 21 weekend at Wharton High.