Apr 14, 2023

Dordt's forensics team takes first place overall in "Speech Sweeps" category

The Dordt University Forensics Team participated in the annual National Christian College Forensics Invitational at the end of March in Nampa, Idaho, competing against other colleges and universities from across the United States.

Collectively, the Dordt team received first place overall in the “Speech Sweeps” category (Division III), which means that Dordt was the best school in the speech events among Division III schools. The category recognizes the number of overall speaker points any particular college receives during the tournament in the speech events.

“Dordt has a long-standing focus on communication, and to receive this award shows that our students are committed to the clarity, efficiency, and expression needed for public speaking and for life,” says Dr. Bruce Kuiper, forensics club coach and communication professor.

The tournament featured three debate events as well as 14 other speaking events including “homiletic speaking” and “reader’s theater.” Over a period of three days (March 30 – April 1), hundreds of students competed in these events, culminating in an awards ceremony on the final evening.

Meggie Kleveland, a junior graphic design student from Forest City, Iowa, took fifth place in the “Faith Literature Interpretation” event, highlighting a spoken-word poem called “Dear God” by Joanah Madzime.

Trygve Bulthuis, a freshman philosophy and economics student from Rock Valley, Iowa, took fourth place in the “Homiletic Speaking” event, discussing the use of the word echad in the Bible. Bulthuis says that homiletic speaking is a speech framed as a short eight-to-10-minute sermon or devotional. “Through participating, I memorized several Bible verses and explored the meaning of an ancient Hebrew word. It was also exciting to listen to many faith lessons and testimonies made by my competitors,” he says.

A trio of students – Sierra Meyer (senior; Doon, Iowa), Miranda Vander Berg (senior; Waupun, Wisconsin), and Christine Turek (senior; Sidney, Montana) – received second place in “Reader’s Theater” with their coverage of the musical, Waitress.

“I am impressed by the amount of dedication the Dordt team put into their pieces to ensure high competitive levels, but also to keep up energy levels for each time they performed,” says Kuiper. “It was a busy tournament!”

The seven Dordt students were kept busy with 45 hours of collective direct tournament competition between them, while Kuiper judged 10 rounds of various events. In addition, the students appreciated the opportunity to meet others from a wide range of other Christian schools, and to practice their speaking skills in such a collaborative atmosphere.

For Kleveland, one of the biggest takeaways from the event was how powerful unity in Christ can be. “With all the students and coaches gathered, we were able to pray together that we would use our skills for God’s glory,” she recalls. “We also had a brief chapel one morning, and being able to worship with students and coaches from all over the country was really cool.”

Dordt Forensics is in its 10th year since restarting the program in the fall of 2013. The team competes in several regional competitions in debate and speech events each semester, and regularly attends the National Christian College Forensics Invitational in the spring. Twenty-two students currently participate in these events, and regularly gain recognition and awards for their work.

About Dordt University

As an institution of higher education committed to the Reformed Christian perspective, Dordt University equips students, faculty, alumni, and the broader community to work toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life. Located in Sioux Center, Iowa, Dordt is a comprehensive university named to the best college lists by U.S. News and World Report, The Wall Street Journal, Times Higher Education, Forbes.com, Washington Monthly, and Princeton Review.

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