El Paso Community College students made history in Washington DC by becoming the first school to win all three American Forensics Association (AFA) National Tournament Gold Overall Team Sweepstakes Awards in one season.
EPCC Forensics team members who won three American Forensics Association national awards
They were competing at the 2017 Phi Rho Pi National Tournament, which took place from April 11 to April 15.
The EPCC Forensics team won other awards as well, one of them being the Gold Individual Events Team Sweepstakes Award and the Bronze Debate Team Sweepstakes Award.
“They [team] have worked very hard this year and through some program challenges, however, they succeeded and earned these national honors. I couldn’t be more proud of our students,” said Forensics Director, Keith Townsend.
He said that the students prepared since July, and the students spend July and August researching their events and finding materials for their performances.
They spend the entire month rehearsing until the first tournament, which took place in September.
They continued working on their performances throughout the year.
“We are always looking for ways for our students to improve as well as making changes to the operation of the program so that we continue to grow and produce quality performances that will be competitive at the invitational season where the students qualify for the national tournaments and then for their final performances at the national tournament where the bar for success is extremely high and the judging is very tough,” said Townsend.
The students participating in the tournament won 18 awards including dramatic interpretation, poetry interpretation, prose interpretation, program oral interpretation, communication analysis, extemporaneous speaking, parliamentary debate, IPDA debate, and special award recognitions.
“We’ve worked hard for this and it showed. I’m thankful for that,” said EPCC student, Salvador Mendoza, winner of the gold medal for poetry interpretation.
“If I could know what I know now at the beginning of the year, I would definitely be more confident.”
Townsend said this has been EPCC’s best year and most competitive one.
“Much of the success credit goes to Joel Anguiano, Assistant Coach, and Christina Marquez the Student Coaching Assistant and the countless hours they put in working with the students to perfect their performances. For the past 13 years EPCC’s Forensics/Performance Studies & Debate Program has been ranked either first, second or third in the nation in their division. This year that tradition continues and I couldn’t be more proud,” Townsend said.