Forensics Team Sees Success in Tournaments, Prepares for Nationals Next Semester

Members of Liberty’s forensics speech and debate team are gearing up for a spring semester full of speech and debate tournaments.

The team has competed in four tournaments so far this school year. This upcoming semester, the team expects to return to face-to-face format, and plans to participate in three regional tournaments and one national tournament. Due to COVID-19, all speech and debate tournaments have been switched to virtual platforms instead of in-person competition. 

“We haven’t been to an in-person tournament since nationals in 2020,” said Denise Thomas, faculty advisor of the forensics team. “Which we hate, but we’re glad we get to continue competing.” 

Despite the online format, Liberty’s team still has achieved success this year with 24 individual awards and two team awards.

Forensics speeches are split in three main categories. 

Platform Speaking (also known as public address) gives students who compete the chance to sharpen their skills in public speaking. There are four types of platform speeches, and in each one the competitor puts together a thoroughly researched and cohesively written speech. 

Oral Interpretation is a category in which competitors will be given the opportunity to perform stories that bring attention to issues about which they are passionate about, according to Thomas. There are five types of Interpretation events and are often great practice for students who have a love for acting. 

Limited Preparation events give students a topic and then give them a limited amount of time to prepare their speech. There are three types of Limited Preparation events, and in this category: impromptu, extemporaneous and  parliamentary debate.  

This season has brought an influx of new members. To properly prepare these students to compete nationally, team members meet with coaches, work on their speeches with one another and receive feedback from their judges. 

“We’ve done a lot of acclimating people to what college forensics is,” Thomas said. “How it works, to help them figure out what it is they want to talk about, and to compose their speeches or prepare their performance.”  

Whether a student chooses to compete in a serious category or a relaxed one, the Liberty University forensics team just wants their students to enjoy themselves and tell stories that are important to them. 

“One of the things that sets Liberty apart from a lot of other college teams is we want you to talk about things that matter to you,” Thomas said. “We want you to identify – what are the issues you’re passionate about? Or what are the stories you believe need to be told?” 

If a student is interested in joining the Liberty University forensic speech and debate team or seeing the upcoming schedule for competitions, they can reach out to Denise Thomas at

Gambino is a news reporter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *