Forensics Debates to Success at Spring Championships

Team Grows Through Exhausting Season

Mar. 25, 2010 By Jenna Bartlo

The Biola Forensics team debated their way to the top at the Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensics Association (PSCFA) Spring Championships Feb. 26-28, 2010 winning the Junior Lincoln Douglas Debate and After Dinner Speaking competitions.

Biola’s team competes in speech and debate tournaments throughout the country against schools of all sizes, both public and private. After a strong ending to their season the group has seen growth among its members.

“This team has grown significantly since my freshman year, almost doubling in size,” said senior captain Jennifer Martin. “What once consisted of a small group of actors and debaters has now become somewhat of a family.”

The forensics team consists of students from each class representing several majors. Since the group formed in 1955 under the leadership of former Biola president Dr. J. Richard Chase, Biola has produced a competitive speech and debate team.

“Every year they get better and they hone their skill more,” said Director of Forensics Dorothy Alston Calley. “They learn from year to year what their strengths are, and are able to write their speeches to their strengths. Some students have chosen to stretch themselves in areas where they want to improve and learn.”

In March 2009 Calley guided the team to first place in the Division II Individual Events Sweepstakes at the 12th National Christian College Forensics Invitational (NCCFI). At this year’s Spring Champs tournament, Biola placed second overall for four-year Universities and third overall in Novice Sweepstakes. The team competed in 13 events, including the Lincoln Douglas Debate, After Dinner Speaking and Impromptu Speaking.

Junior Tiffany Chan and sophomores Jonathan Hensley and Nick Shorts stood out in their competitions, placing first in their individual events. Hensley was a finalist in the Impromptu Speaking event while Shorts and Chan took first place in Persuasive Speaking and After Dinner Speaking.

Martin expressed how growth has come out of tournaments and practices.

“My time on the team has been challenging. Tournaments are exhausting and take up entire weekends,” Martin said. “God used this activity to teach me to be less perfectionistic and to give my worries up to him.”

Sophomore Tiffany Chan has also seen growth, finding her identity and purpose through forensics.

“I have improved on how to present myself to the people around me, but I have also found my identity in Christ through Forensics,” said Chan. “Forensics is not about the trophies, but about being a light in a world that desperately seeks hope.”

Written by George Garcia, Media Relations Intern. Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, can be reached at 562.777.4061 or through email at

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