Liberty Forensics Speech team closes out their short season on top and place their bid to host the 2021 National Christian College Forensics Invitational

Before activity on campus ended abruptly due to COVID-19, Liberty’s Forensics Speech Team snagged a few awards and clinched an elite opportunity.

During the first weekend of March, the  forensics team travelled to Grove City College in Pennsylvania, to participate in the National Christian College Forensics Invitational (NCCFI). There, they competed against about 25 other colleges from across the nation. 

These competitions, which consist of approximately 250-300 students, include platform speaking, oral interpretation events and limited preparation. 

Liberty brought home 12 awards from this invitational in categories such as duo oral interpretation, poetry and informative speaking.

According to the team webpage, the LU forensics program, which started in 2009, practices excellence in public speaking and “strives to train champions for Christ through instruction, practice and competition in the realm of public communication.” Team members travel to compete in regional and national speech tournaments and contribute through community involvement and recruitment for forensics. 

Team members commit significant time to preparing for competitions. Beginning in the summer before the school year, participants start discussing and researching what they want to speak about. They spend multiple hours weekly memorizing, rehearsing and developing logical or artistic presentations. 

Liberty forensics team senior Amber Lambie has enjoyed her two years on the team.

“Not only are you getting to speak about what you’re passionate about, but you also get to hear from other people the things that they’re passionate about,” Lambie said.

Not only does the team expect to improve in the next season, but they also will host the NCCFI during Liberty’s spring break in 2021. 

In order to host the NCCFI, the school must be a member of the National Christian College Association (NCCFA). From there, the team proposed to Liberty’s administration to host the tournament. After it was approved by the chair, dean and the Provost Office, the bid was accepted at the NCCFA annual business meeting. 

“The tournament will bring students and coaches from about 25 different colleges and universities for a three-day tournament, culminating in an awards banquet,” Forensics Coordinator Denise Thomas said. 

Although she will be unable to compete, Lambie is eager to see how it all unfolds. 

“Hosting the tournament next year will be an awesome opportunity for Liberty University,” Lambie said. “Liberty definitely has the capacity and facilities to host. It will also make them more aware of what’s going on with our forensics team.” 

Despite her inability to participate, Lambie hopes to come back and volunteer with production or judging the 2021 tournament. 

The team’s season was cut short, preventing them from attending their final debate-only competition at East Tennessee State University. 

Despite the face-to-face competition being over, the National Speech Championship decided to convert their tournament to online, allowing students to participate in their capstone moment. Participants will be able to record themselves performing, upload their pieces to YouTube and viewers can watch others compete virtually. 

“The forensics community is stepping up to acknowledge that even though a lot of things have to be done differently, that doesn’t mean we have to miss out,” Lambie said. 

Edmonds is a news reporter. Follow her on Twitter.

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