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Forensics Team Takes Philadelphia

November 12, 2012

The speech team returned yesterday from our tournament in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the University of Pennsylvania with trophies and accolades galore. 

UPenn hosted Saturday's tournament, with Liberty's Team competing against excellent speakers from nine other schools all weekend, including George Mason University, West Chester University, Cedar Crest College, James Madison University, Binghamton University, Drexel University, and Haverford College. Team captain Josh Wade won first in after dinner speaking, and first in Duo interpretation with partner Laurin Elliott. Yemisi Egbewole won third in After Dinner Speaking and third in dramatic interpretation. Kenny Lau was champion with first place in informative speaking, and champion first place in poetry interpretation. Freshman Shadrach Hicks won champion first place in dramatic interpretation and Whitney Rutherford won second in impromptu speaking and fourth in persuasive speaking. 
On the second day of competition, the Southern and Northern Atlantic Forensics Union hosted the tournament at which Josh Wade won Team captain Josh Wade won second place in program oral interpretation, third in impromptu speaking, and first in Duo interpretation with partner Laurin Elliott. Yemisi Egbewole won first place in dramatic interpretation. Kenny Lau was champion with first place again in informative speaking, and first place in prose interpretation (storytelling). Freshman Shadrach Hicks won second place in dramatic interpretation and Whitney Rutherford won second in persuasive speaking.
Most impressively, Joshua Wade won third place in overall points out of more than 100 competitors at the Sunday tournament, and Kenny Lau won second place in overall points as an individual competitor. In team points, Liberty's Forensics team was second out of all the schools attending, for achievement in events across the board. As this tournament was the last of the fall semester, the students and coaches are proud to head into the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with achievements pushing them toward new learning experiences and championships for the spring semester. Our fall tournaments cumulatively have qualified at least six students to take their performances to the national competitions in April 2013. 
The team extends a warm thank you to each of the professors and administrators who have supported the forensics team members and staff with prayers, academic support, and encouragement throughout the fall semester -- enabling the fantastic success we have experienced thus far this season. We look forward to sharing even better news with everyone of our achievements in the spring 2013 semester, where we will be traveling to more tournaments to represent Liberty and its dedication to creating Champions for Christ in the competitive public speaking arena. 

A Thanks to Our Local Sponsors

October 1, 2012

Liberty University’s Forensic Speech Team would like to extend a warm thank you to several Lynchburg business for contributions to the Liberty University Speech Team Invitational! Our team members and leadership – and our more than 200 guests –appreciated your support as we hosted our district’s first tournament of the season on our campus Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29-30. 

Our hospitality tables represented the tastiest pastries and desserts in Lynchburg – and the most beautiful floral arrangements in town. These contributions provided southern hospitality for over two hundred undergraduate forensic speech competitors, coaches, professors and visitors. 

It was a pleasure working with the following Lynchburg businesses, and we are proud to feature them as our tournament sponsors, and contributors to our spirit of success this weekend and for tournament weekends to come.

Forensics team persuades through community action

September 8, 2012

By Angie Swinson
The Liberty University Forensics team is committed to sharing their talents outside of competition. The team volunteers downtown at the Salvation Army on Friday evenings to serve dinner to the homeless in Lynchburg. 
Whitney Rutherford greatly anticipates each time the Forensics team gets the opportunity to serve the homeless.
“The best part of volunteering is interacting with the guests who come in,” Whitney said on Friday, Sept. 7, when the team last helped out downtown. “These men and women come from all walks of life and while some are taciturn, others are all too ready to tell us about their day, how they’re feeling, and what they want for dinner.” 
Volunteering is important not only because it benefits others, but it also benefits those who are volunteering, Whitney said. 
Community service is an excellent way for students to employ their communication skills and gain valuable teamwork experience, coach Meagan Roper, who went with the team last Friday, said. 
Drs. William and Faith Mullen also volunteer at the Salvation Army on Friday nights. Dr. Faith Mullen encourages students to donate their time.
“Students provide meals for their residents and the community,” Dr. Faith Mullen said. They also present the Gospel of Jesus Christ and hearts are changed as a result of their ministry.”
To join the forensics team on the mission to do good, contact forensics coach Meagan Roper, at

The New Guy

Sept. 5, 2012

By Angie Swinson
The Liberty University Forensics team welcomes our newest member, Shadrach Hicks. His major is currently undecided but he is currently deciding between prelaw and communications studies. Shad is a freshman from California and has three years of experience in Forensics.
Shad is already noted among the communications department for his speaking skills and placed in state and national competitions in high school. His strongest event is in Dramatic Interpretation, but he loves a challenge and is looking forward to trying Poetry since it was not available to his Forensics team in California.
Shad is very excited to travel with such a talented group and compete in state wide and national competitions on the college level. He loves the team and enjoys the competitive nature of Forensics. He and the team will compete in their first competition September 29.

Liberty Forensics travels to NFA National Tournament

Tuesday, April 26, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, our forensic speech team, consisting of five students and two coaches, returned from the National Forensics Association National Tournament of Champions in Athens, Ohio. In order to qualify for this tournament, the competitors had to score in the top half of a regional tournament's final round to qualify to take each piece to the NFA. From August to April, five Liberty students qualified a total of 18 pieces to perform before a national audience at the NFA-NTC.

The tournament hosted almost 1,000 students this year, with over 8,000 performances taking place over the course of the tournament. Liberty's student did very well at the tournament in Ohio.  As a team, Liberty was eleventh in our division for the number of pieces we brought. Liberty was thirty-ninth among the 75 schools competing. Only the top 24 competitors out of the hundreds in each event qualified to take their events to the quarterfinal, semifinal, and final rounds, meaning they had to score first over five other competitors in at least three out of the four preliminary rounds. While our students did well, scoring in the upper half of their preliminary rounds, there were many, many quality performances, so first place was hard to come by.

The experience to see so many different pieces and schools' styles during the four preliminary rounds and six out rounds will be extremely helpful in teaching the coaches and students how to prepare to succeed next year and in years to come. We have so much potential to score highly at these national competitions in the future.

AFA-NIET -- the big time.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, our forensic speech team returned from the American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament in San Marcos, Texas. This tournament is very difficult to qualify for, requiring that competitors score in the top 10 percent of each event in at least three tournaments to qualify to take each piece to the AFA-NIET. This year, we had four students qualify at total of 17 pieces to perform before a national audience at the AFA-NIET.

The quality of competition at this tournament is phenomenal every year, with several schools having competed with 30+ students for over 35 years consecutively, since the tournament's inception. The tournament hosted almost 600 students this year. With this in mind, the scores that our students received in their preliminary rounds were impressive, and topped many competitors from around the nation. Only the top 24 competitors out of the hundreds in each event qualified to take their events to the quarterfinal, semifinal, and final rounds, meaning they had to score first in almost every preliminary round. While our students did well, scoring in the upper half of many of their preliminary rounds, the competition was very tough. However, students from our community, District VII, which we are a part of and contribute to at every tournament, scored very highly, demonstrating that national finalist placement is within our reach as well. Our district brought home third in the nation in impromptu speaking, fourth in persuasive speaking, sixth in prose interpretation, and second in extemporaneous speaking, beating out hundreds of other competitors from schools across the country.

More than anything, the quality of performances that the students and I were privileged to witness and learn from will better prepare us not only for our last tournament at the National Forensics Association National Tournament in Athens, Ohio, but will also ready us for better competition and higher achievement next year, as we continue to recruit and develop radically talented students to represent Liberty University in the future.

Liberty Champion Article: Liberty’s Forensic Speech Team

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Liberty University’s Forensic Speech Team won in its division at the National Christian College Forensics Invitational in March and came in fourth place overall. Following this success, the team held a showcase of their work Wednesday, March 28, in the Department of Communication Auditorium in DeMoss Hall.

“We’re the top Christian school for how many students we had participating,” Forensics Coach and Graduate Student Assistant Meagan Roper said.

Roper, who has been working with the forensics team since August, introduced the showcase by giving a short history on the team. The forensics team began in the 1970s under Dr. Cecil Kramer, but was inactive for years before being revived in 2009.

“We now have seven active students and this year alone have brought home 166 awards,” Roper said.
According to Roper, the forensics team competes in 20 different tournaments per year over the course of 10 weekends. There are three different branches in which the team members can compete, including platform speech, interpretive speech and limited preparation.

“The platform speeches are all written by us. The interpretation speeches are things we pull from literature,” junior Colin Dowd said.

Dowd has been involved with the forensics team since his freshman year. Dowd and junior Josh Wade, a fellow team member, performed a duo interpretation entitled “What Teachers Make” at the showcase in addition to their solo interpretative work.

In order to put these interpretive pieces together, Dowd said the forensics team pulls from different mediums of literature, including newspaper clippings and books.

“We’ve been doing our duo speech since October. When we first put it together, I would say we probably put 40 hours into it,” Dowd said. “Once you get the actual speech written, you have to tweak it constantly.”

Freshman Whitney Rutherford, whose informative speaking piece called Philanthrocapitalism won first in the nation at the National Christian College Forensics Invitational, said she puts hours of research into perfecting her speeches.

“I’m checking week by week – even day by day – to get new sources,” Rutherford said.
In addition to her informative piece, Rutherford performed an improvised speech at the showcase. She was given two minutes to prepare and five minutes to perform a persuasive speech based on a random quote handed in by a professor attending the event.

During the time she was given, Rutherford pieced together a speech connecting the Disney film “Finding Nemo,” Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Thomas Jefferson to the Tina Turner quote “What’s love got to do with it?”
Rutherford, who has been doing forensics and debate since high school, said she sees herself continuing in forensics for the foreseeable future. Rutherford and Dowd both expressed that people interested in doing forensics should try it, but warned that joining the team takes dedication.

“It’s not something you walk into perfect. It takes growing a passion for it,” Rutherford said.

“It’s definitely an experience. You grow so much as a communicator and as a person. The professionalism you gain from this experience is absolutely incredible,” Dowd said.

The forensics team will compete in the American Forensics Association (AFA) National Individual Events Tournament, which takes place April 6-9 at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. The following week they will participate in a National Forensics Association (NFA) competition at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, from April 19 to 23.