by Elyssia Finch and Savanah Baker
The Concordia Speech and Debate forensics team returned from the National Christian College Forensics Invitational, March 5-7 in San Diego, California, with three national titles.
Freshman Hannah Sugita won two national championships, junior Kristin Jindra placed second in poetry and first place in novice poetry, and junior Musa Fofana placed third in impromptu speaking.
The Concordia speech and debate program offers students the chance to participate in competitive speech events throughout the academic year. The team is made up of six members and led by Director of Forensics Andrew Moffitt. “There are 10 to 12 regular season tournaments a year (that) are regional tournaments largely held in the Midwest,” Moffitt said. “We are blessed to have a competitive pool of schools…and we’re hitting national level competition every weekend.”
Junior Emily Kollbaum is the student coach for the team, assisting with the speakers’ quality and development.
“It’s different responsibilities,” Kollbaum said. “When I was a participant, I was in charge of myself and my own practices. Now, I get the opportunity to help the participants and dig deeper into the pieces with them. My time is focused on them and it’s neat how my comments help ease their process.”
Forensics includes performances and debates in all eleven American Forensics Association categories.
“We are presenting work to academic panels every weekend,” Moffitt said. “The judges on the circuit are former competitors, professors and esteemed community members. Not only are (the students speaking) to audiences with a level of rhetoric and polish, they are being critiqued as well.” Freshman Soren Doll is part of the forensic team and was involved in forensics prior to Concordia for four years. He competes in the limited prep area of speech under two categories: extemporaneous speaking and impromptu speaking.
“I don’t know what I’m speaking about until I step into the room and draw my question,” Doll said of extemporaneous speaking.
He said the questions are all about current events and he has 30 minutes to prepare a seven minute speech using research he has compiled on a laptop.
“I prepare by growing my knowledge base from current events, books and bio theories to use in speeches,” Doll said. “Basically research and random knowledge. Other events are more about memorization. In my events, there is less cramming and it’s less stressful. It all depends on your personal skill set.”
“This is a young program and we are…building (focus) on growing the team based on quantity, but, more importantly, quality as well,” Moffitt said. “We are blessed to have a supportive administration and campus.”
Anyone interested in joining forensics or learning more about the team can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.