Photo by Janis Wagner
By Micah Schultz
Concordia’s forensics team hosted a tournament Oct. 5-6 where they placed highly in multiple categories. The competition included various types of speech including poetry, monologue and exposition on current events.
The judges gave the Concordia forensics team high marks across the board and awarded an outright win to junior Jacob Garrison and senior Adam Hiles on the last day, giving them a bid to participate in a national tournament.
Forensics is about much more than winning an event or placing highly in a tournament for members of Concordia’s forensics team.. To sophomore Philomena Williams, it is a force for social change.
“Speech is a place where anyone can come with ideas of any kind,” Williams said. “If you have a problem with something, you make a piece about it and talk about it for 10 minutes and somebody has to listen.”
This feeling of speech being used not only in a competitive way but as a way to present new ideas is echoed by Head Speech Team Coach Joe Davis, who has been developing the program for the past five years at Concordia.
“[Speech] is a group of young individuals that are working on both cultivating their own voices and opinions, and sharpening their voice via working on their listening skills … [it] is equipping more and more of the people who are going to contribute to this campus with the best tools they can to be the best people they can be,” Davis said.
The idea of equipping students at Concordia to be more articulate individuals is not a new invention. This tradition is a long established one, with forensics honors going back to the ‘80s and ‘90s.
“The more you listen to people … if you are willing to not only hear them but empathize with their message, you can really shift and grow as an individual,” Davis said. “I’ve changed my perspectives socially, politically on so many different issues as I am willing to listen and grow.”
Speech and articulating one’s thoughts are essential to a healthy campus and healthy dialogue within a community, according to Davis. The forensics team is committed to not only competing at the highest level, but to cultivating a positive, intellectually diverse community at Concordia. Davis and the forensics team are constantly working to achieve this goal and to prepare not only the team for success on a national stage, but to prepare and equip the next generation of thoughtful, articulate members of society.