The ACU Forensics team, more commonly known as speech and debate, is no stranger to success. Among other notable achievements, its qualifications for the national debate tournament against opponents like Rice University demands the attention of the debate world.
“I’m proud of all of our kids. We’ve done really well. It’s been very exciting,” said Dena Counts, instructor of communications and Forensics director.
Two members of the team are ranked 20th out of 800 teams in the nation.
Jared Perkins, junior political science major from Peru, Ill., and Jeff Craig, junior print journalism major from Granbury, took first place in three different tournaments and qualified for semi-finals and quarter-finals in other debate tournaments. Through these victories, they have accumulated enough points to outrank the other 780 teams.
“Jeff and Jared are our most experienced team,” Counts said. “They have received an invitation to the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence. It is invitation only. Only 60 teams in the nation get one.”
Margaret Moore, junior youth and family ministry major from Katy, is another distinguished member of the program. Moore has won first place in two different tournaments with her informative speech on echolocation.
Although Moore said she is proud of her accomplishments, she especially values the skills they represent.
“I am able to see both sides of the issue. I am able to think critically about a problem and approach it from both sides,” she said.
Of those skills, Counts said each team member brings something unique to the table.
“I believe it is a group of people who are not only very talented and very intelligent, but a group of people who are able to put their ego aside and take criticism, work hard together and challenge each other,” Counts said.
Moore agrees that the group’s hard work and cooperation makes success possible.
“It’s a unique group. It is cool to see us all work together and be successful,” Moore said.
The speech and debate program offers just one more way for ACU students to pursue the university’s mission of preparing students for leadership in the world.
“This is a great way to practice thinking outside our worldview,” Counts said. “It’s a great way to live Christ among others, but also stretch your thinking along the way.”