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Forensics team heads to California

Five John Brown University students on the forensics team will be traveling to California to compete at the Pacific Southwest Forensics Association Cool-Off Tournament tomorrow.

Erick Roebuck, adjunct communication professor and director of University forensics, will be directing the trip as the team travels to Mission Viejo, Calif. for four days.

Roebuck said, “If they work hard and spend sufficient time practicing, they will represent JBU well. More than awards, I am excited about the opportunity to share speeches and performances from a Christian worldview at a secular event.”

The team will be presenting multiple forms of speeches including informative, after-dinner, persuasive and impromptu. At the competition there will be performance events including poetry, drama and prose.

Roebuck said it has been a transitional year since many competitors have graduated, but that new students have been working hard to represent the University well.

“We’re not able to qualify for nationals this year, but the tournament at Saddleback College provides our best competitors one last chance to compete this year, and it provides a reward to those who have been working hard all year,” Roebuck said.

Roebuck said they are treating this competition as a dress rehearsal for a return to nationals next year.

Megan Chapin, two-year University forensics competitor and 2015 regional winner, will be performing an after-dinner speech about presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his presence on Snapchat.

Chapin said, “The speech is important to me because I have been ‘feelin’ the bern’ for a while. Plus he is an old white man that is good at connecting with younger people and is fi ghting for the 99 percent.”

Chapin has participated in speech and debate since her sophomore year in high school. This will be her fourth forensics tournament.

“Connecting better with the team is exciting. There are a couple of girls I do not know very well and I’m excited to make meaningful friendships,” she said. “If I win a trophy, that would be awesome, but I just want to learn and improve.”

Tanis Taft, freshman forensics member, will be competing in her second collegiate competition and performing an after-dinner speech about race minorities and a poem about truth.

“I’m excited to compete about these topics because there is a lot of truth in these speeches,” Taft said, “People know but don’t realize how blind we are to absolute truth.”

Taft participated in forensics during high school and competed in multiple competitions and categories. Since joining the University team, she has competed in one tournament in Tulsa.

“Traveling helps create a better team because we get to see the diversity of other colleges and areas around the U.S.,” Taft said. “Winning an award would be amazing and a great start for preparing for next year competitions.”

“I am looking forward to using this trip as a springboard for next year,” Roebuck said. “We have figured out a good system where I can coach part time and have the students take over key leadership roles.”