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HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau earns first national title in prose at championship

SSB 2018 NCFFIBROWNWOOD – April 4, 2018 – Howard Payne University’s Student Speaker Bureau speech and debate team recently earned the university’s first national champion title in prose interpretation. Junior Christopher Freeland, theatre major from Bangs, competed in prose interpretation and was awarded the title of 2018 national champion. On the judges’ panel, Freeland received straight “one” rankings in the final round which secured him the win.

The national championship was accomplished during the National Christian College Forensics Association national tournament, held at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. More than 220 students from 21 universities from across the nation participated in the 2018 championship. All schools represented are members of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities.

“I am so proud of Chris for winning the national championship in prose interpretation,” said Dr. Julie Welker, speech and debate team coach and chair and professor of communication. “This is an extremely competitive tournament and his hard work has paid off. Christopher has been working very hard for the last three years to achieve this. He set his mind to it and has continually improved each year.”

In the debate competition, freshman Lucy Manning, Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, communication and social science jurisprudence major from Fort Worth, won second place as top speaker in junior varsity International Public Debate Association debate. Manning also advanced to quarterfinals in debate.

Other students competing in the tournament were sophomore Madison Neal, communication major from Chandler; junior Tyler Olin, social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Howe; and senior Aimee Orozco, communication major from Shepherd. Richelle Hair, instructor of communication, assisted with the team.

While in California, the team enjoyed a day of sightseeing at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, both in Anaheim, California. The group also visited with HPU alumni in the area.

“These trips are about more than just competing,” said Dr. Welker. “We want our students to have a well-rounded education through travel, and to experience the culture of each city we visit. While competition is our primary focus, getting out to network with HPU alumni is an important part, too.”


 Cutline:  HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau recently competed at the 2018 National Christian College Forensics Association national tournament at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. Pictured from left are Dr. Julie Welker, speech and debate coach, and chair and professor of communications; junior Tyler Olin; freshman Lucy Manning; sophomore Madi Neal; senior Aimee Orozco; junior Christopher Freeland; and Richelle Hair, instructor of communications.