Students participate in speech, debate tournament

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As students, dressed in suits and polished business attire, filed onto campus, it was apparent that there was something important going on. Indeed, there was; the 82nd Annual Mahaffey Memorial Forensics Tournament’s festivities were beginning to unfold.

At various times during the weekend of Nov. 9-12, students from more than 20 schools competed in the individual speaking events and debate portions of the tournament.

A few of these colleges and universities were Boise State, Pacific, Lewis and Clark, Carroll, Oregon State, Willamette, University of Washington, and Clark and Simon Frasier from Vancouver, Canada.

Sponsors of the event were the Linfield Forensics Team, the Department of Theater and Communication Arts and the Pi Kappa Delta Forensics Honorary.

The goal of the annual tournament is to sharpen students’ ability to effectively communicate and compete in a controlled environment.

“To me, tournaments like this are all about discourse,” senior Chris Forrer said in an email. “Watching and listening to learn new things from your fellow competitors. The topics people choose to create programs of literature about (poetry, prose, drama) are always eye-opening and inspiring to see. It’s an exchange of knowledge and skill, and I think it’s incredibly important.”

Fifteen to 20 minutes prior to the debate events, judges announce the topic that will be covered, giving participants time to prepare. Some of the topics covered during the weekend included North Korean relations, prison, the legalization of marijuana, and cocaine in the U.S. and Latin America.

As the speaking events drew to a close on Saturday evening, Josh Watkins was deemed the top overall speaker in the open division and was given the Mahaffey Award.

“Megan Schwab placed second in Junior Persuasion and sixth in Open Persuasion. Samantha Javier placed first in Junior Persuasion and third in Open Persuasion. Claudia Lester placed fifth in Junior Poetry. Michael Zier and Austin Browning were finalists in Junior British Parliamentary debate. Forrer placed first in Open Program of Oral Interpretation and third in Open Informative Speaking,” Jackson Miller, director of forensics and professor of communication arts, said.

The debate portion ended Sunday with the closing ceremony in Ice Auditorium at 7 p.m. There were delays due to glitches in the tabulation program, so the weekend’s closing ceremony was delayed. Miller and various judges announced the overall winners of the tournament before sending the participants on their journey home.

Sarah Mason

Staff writer

Sarah Mason can be reached at
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Sarah Mason/Staff writer

Linfield hosted the 82nd Annual Mahaffey Memorial Forensics Tournament, in which students from Linfield and other colleges competed in debates Nov. 9-12.

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