Educators across the country are trying their best to deal with the tragedy of the Coronavirus. Even as millions of students shifted to online classes, huge segments of the school community could not adapt. This was especially felt in competitive activities like sports who lost their championship seasons. The IVC Speech and Debate Team was faced with the same disappointment. The team was scheduled to compete at an international tournament in Japan in early March – canceled. The team expected to do well at the state championships in Fresno – canceled. The national championships scheduled for April in Albuquerque – canceled.
So, when the IVC team had an opportunity to compete in a special online speech tournament, IVC professor, Jules French, saw an opportunity to expand their competitive base. The Co-Director of Forensics wanted to make sure the online experiment would be successful, so she even volunteered to help administer the tournament.
"A national tournament like this was virtually unheard of just a few short months ago. I am so impressed with the speech community for coming together and working tireless hours to make such an amazing opportunity available to students. During a time when all forensics events were cancelled, being a part of an event that brought students together from across the nation was truly an honor."
In attendance of the free tournament were 30 schools from Alaska to Texas. The tournament scheduled over April 25-26 allowed students to go online in special “rooms” set for competitors and judges to watch live synced speeches. Students competed in individual events and debate. Competitors were recognized for their excellence with gift cards donated by members of the community.
The team also had more bright spots illuminated in the final days of the season. Each year, Forensics Associations rank the top teams in year-long sweepstakes. IVC was recognized by two associations for their achievements at tournaments before the season ended. First, the National Parliamentary Debate Association announced that IVC ranked third place among all community colleges nation-wide. In the same announcement, the school’s final year-long ranking among all two-year and four-year schools was 13th, placed between the University of Utah and Texas Tech.
The second group, the Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensics Association, also announced its year-long rankings. The league, consisting of all institutions of higher learning in Southern California and Arizona, announced that IVC was ranked third among all schools. An additional shining moment in the team’s season was the selection of Claire Crossman as Vice-President of the league. Claire is a first year IVC adjunct instructor and coach.
Although the competition season was cut short by the virus, the team still considers their season to be successful with over 150 IVC students on the squad. Co-Director of Forensics, Bill Neesen said “I think this year was a great year even with the sudden ending to our season because of the Corona Virus. We had some amazing students who would have done so well at nationals. What impresses me about them is they took the change and were still there to support new people on the team by helping them and not just ending their time on the speech team.”