Speech team advances to national speech competition

For the second time in its history, the university’s speech team is heading to the National Forensic Association competition for speech and debate, which will be held at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. April 18-22. The team has qualified for nationals only one other time.

Assistant Professor of communication and media studies Kathy Owens, who recently assumed official control of the program, is pleased with the progress it is making.

“Our team is really growing,” she said, “both in the size of the team as a whole and in the personal growth of the individuals involved.  Every year we get a little bit better, especially since the university is sending more resources our way now than they did in the beginning.”

One of Owens’ favorite parts of the program is building relationships with the students on their trips.

“I love getting to know the students so well. We spend a lot of time traveling together, so we get to know each other,” she said.

Kayla Stewart is a freshman speech education major and a native of Brownwood, Texas.

She has only been on the speech team for one semester but has already attended two competitions, placing sixth at one event. This qualified her to travel with the group to the national competition.

Having fun with teammates and making new friends was what Stewart enjoyed the most.

“My fondest memory would have to be singing in the van on the way to competitions…. I am most excited for nationals because I love bonding with the team and getting to know other people,” she said.

Stewart will be participating in the prose interpretation competition.

Sophomore nursing major Rebecca Maul from Itasca, Texas, is in her second semester of the program. She has been to six competitions and placed first twice and third once. She, too, qualified for the NFA national tournament and is looking forward to it.

Maul said, “I’m really excited not only about giving my speech but also hearing what everyone else has to say as well. I think there will definitely be some great speeches.”

She is entered in the persuasive speaking section of the event.

Sophomore theology and political science major Zachary Craig from Dallas, Texas, has seen his fair share of speech and debate competition over his two semesters on the speech team.

He recently placed seventh in impromptu speaking.

He will be competing in the persuasive speaking and impromptu speaking contests and looks forward to exploring a new place with his teammates.

Craig said, “I’m excited to get to hear some of the top speakers at nationals and just to get to travel and visit Marshall University.”

Author: Antonio Hebert

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