Darron Devillez: What Forensics Did For Me
Devillez, D. (
Darron Devillez: W hat Forensics Did For Me
Darron Devillez: What Forensics Did For Me 0
Grossmont Community College/ 0
Forensic Alumni 0
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Darron Devillez is a member of the Project Rebound staff and
Adjunct Faculty member at San Diego State University. He
competed for Grossmont Community College and San Diego
State University from 2011-2015. As a competitor his favorite
event was prose and his favorite comment on a ballot was
“You are the complete package.” His greatest forensics
accomplishment was helping his team take 8th place at AFA
Nationals his senior year.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0
International License. This Article is brought to you for free and open access through Cornerstone: A
Collection of Scholarly and Creative Works at Minnesota State University, Mankato. It has been
accepted for inclusion in Speaker & Gavel by the Editor and Editorial Board of Speaker & Gavel.
Proper APA citation for this article is:
Devillez, D. (2017). Darron Devillez: What forensics did for me. Speaker & Gavel,
Darron Devillez: What Forensics Did for Me
Project Rebound staff / Adjunct
San Diego State University
ALUMNI CORNER: The forensic community is filled with alumni who will tout the benefits they received
through their participation in intercollegiate speech and debate activities. As directors of forensics
programs face battles for budgets and sometimes for their program’s very existence, having a collection
of published testimonies about the positive influence of forensics can be a tremendous help. To that end,
Speaker & Gavel is setting aside space in each issue for our alumni to talk about how forensics has
helped them in their professional life. These are our alumni’s stories.
FSix years ago, I was a non-traditional student. I was a 57 year old homeless veteran
or me, there is a direct link between my forensic involvement and my success in college.
diagnosed with PTSD but I was fortunate to get help and the opportunity to go to college
where my counselor enrolled me in a public speaking class.
One of my speeches was on homeless veterans. I sought to convince my classmates to think of
these people with empathy and to assist them in finding homes, free health clinics, and, most
importantly, their families with whom they may have lost touch. I asked them to listen to the
stories of veterans and the hardships they suffered. By doing so, I suggested, we might reduce
the devastating 22 lives lost each day in this population. After my speech, my professor asked me
to join the forensic team. I accepted her invitation and that year I took a third place trophy at Phi
Rho Pi, the community college national championship tournament.
Validated for the first time in my adult life, I was
hooked. After community college, I transferred to
San Diego State University. The first thing I did
was to introduce myself to the Director of
Forensics. Before the season officially started, I had
three events ready for competition and was working on a fourth. The Director was impressed but
reminded me of the grade point requirement needed to be on the squad.
Using the Toulmin formula I learned in forensics – claim, data, warrant – I started receiving A
grades on my papers. Additionally, I transferred the same work ethic demanded in forensics to
my other academic courses. As a result, I repeatedly made the dean’s list, received multiple
scholarships, while winning numerous forensic awards at both the state and national levels.
As my undergraduate studies came to an end, I applied to the master’s program and was
accepted. For my thesis, I wrote about something near and dear to me – veterans with PTSD.
Six years has passed since I became involved in forensics. I am no longer homeless,
drugdependent, or on the verge of joining the 22-a-day crisis. If you would
have told me that my validation would come in the form
of a competitive public speaking activity; I would have
scoffed at you.
Today I am living with my family, free from any drug
dependency, legal or illegal. I have traveled all over the
world with forensic teams, and have just completed my
master’s degree. Forensics changed me. It highlighted
my potential. It taught me how to research. It taught me
structure, both oral and written. It taught me about the importance of
The most important
part of any speech, is
that walk to the
I am determined to find a teaching job in a community college where I can extol the benefits of
forensics and its many applications. Forensics helped return me to the man I once was and I
know it can aid others as well.