North Central College - Naperville, IL

Forensics team members claim national attention

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2012 forensic team members
2012 forensic team members

North Central College’s forensics team has traveled and competed nationwide during winter and spring terms and placed among the top teams and competitors in the country.

Most recently on April 6-9, North Central’s team of five students headed to Texas State University in San Marcos for the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET)—one of the most prestigious tournaments of the year. David DePino ’12 claimed second place (among 146 competitors) in Persuasive Speaking, which is an original speech designed to inspire, reinforce or change the beliefs, attitudes, values or actions of the audience. DePino’s finish is the highest placement ever for North Central College at the national AFA-NIET.

“We’re incredibly proud of David,” says John Stanley, assistant professor of speech communication, assistant director of forensics and director of individual events. “Having him place this highly says a lot about his hard work and determination and is a huge feat for our entire team!”

In other earlier contests this year, a team of 11 students placed third at the Illinois Intercollegiate Forensic Association State Tournament (IIFA) at Illinois Central College on March 2-3. Outstanding individual accomplishments included DePino, who claimed second place in Persuasive Speaking and second place in Extemporaneous Speaking; Steve Mackey ’13 and Mark White ’13 took second place in Parliamentary Debate; and William Miller ’12 placed seventh in Persuasive Speaking.

DePino’s second-place finish in Persuasive Speaking secured his invitation to compete in the 143rd Interstate Oratorical Association National Tournament at Emerson College in Boston April 26-28. Only the top two in Persuasive Speaking in each state go on to this national competition.

On March 15-18, seven students traveled to Metropolitan Community College in Overland Park, Kan., to compete in the Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament that combined both individual events and debate competition.

The outstanding accomplishment in individual events featured DePino, who was declared the National Champion in Informative Speaking, outshining 84 other competitors. Other National Finalists (among top six in the nation) included Miller in both Extemporaneous Speaking and Communication Analysis, and DePino in Persuasive Speaking. National Semi-finalists (top 12 in the nation) included DePino and Cody Follis ’13 in After-Dinner Speaking. National Quarterfinalists (top 24 in the nation) included DePino and Follis in Extemporaneous Speaking, Monique Lincoln ’15 and Miller in After-Dinner Speaking, and Follis in Dramatic Interpretation.

Team accomplishments included the duo of Miller and DePino as National Quarterfinalists in Parliamentary Debate (top four in the nation) and TJ Simmons ’13 and Jill Laumbacher ’13 as National Octofinals in Novice Parliamentary Debate (top 16 in the nation). In overall team awards, North Central placed ninth (among 70 teams) in both debate and individual events and seventh (among 70 teams) in individual events.

Stanley and Richard Paine, professor of speech communication/theatre, traveled to all these contests and coached the students, whose majors range from history, speech communication, psychology and political science to global studies, music and entrepreneurship/small business management.

During forensics competitions, teams are placed in different divisions based on the size of their entry for team awards. Students qualify over the season, from September through April, to reach nationals and once there, they compete against everyone, no matter how large or small a team. As a result, says Stanley, “It’s quite an accomplishment when our students place. They are literally competing against those who have qualified from all across the country. They are competing with the best of the best in the nation.”