Grand Canyon University Speech and Debate Team Making Waves Nationally

March 30, 2015

GCU places in top 15 in country, students repeat as Christian school national champs

Grand Canyon University's speech and debate team, in only its second year of existence, is quickly making a name for itself on the national stage.

The GCU team placed 15th in the country at the prestigious Pi Kappa Delta national championships at Ohio University on March 8, besting dozens of other major universities in the 78-team field. Grand Canyon followed that up with several individual champions at the National Christian College Forensics Invitational March 22 at Colorado Christian University.

At the Christian College Invitational, freshman Chloe Saunders won first place in prose interpretation for her portrayal of a 10-year-old girl with Asperger's syndrome who struggles with her emotions after losing her brother in a school shooting. Sophomore Emmett Foster and junior Ashlyn Tupper finished first with their duo interpretation about a botched investigation into child sex slavery in Thailand.

Communications instructor Barry Regan, the team's adviser, said the highly emotional pieces left some audience members in tears and remarking about the rapid development of GCU's program in only two years. With the bar set so high, Regan hopes the speech and debate team can expand next year to include more students and coaches.

"The goal is finding students who have an attachment to this activity and consider it part of their identity, but in a good way," Regan said. "They have to have that emotional resonance with speech and debate."


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