Kaiser wins national championship in speech event
Story by Laurie Merrill
Photos by Ralph Freso
GCU News Bureau
Grand Canyon University senior Tatum Kaiser talked her way into a national championship in Impromptu Speaking in the 2017 National Forensics Association National Championship Tournament.
Kaiser set a GCU Speech and Debate Team record by advancing to the final rounds in the novice division in four different events. She also earned third place in After Dinner Speaking, fifth in Poetry Interpretation and sixth in Prose Interpretation.
“We have a national champion on our hands,” said team director Barry Regan, a College of Humanities and Social Sciences instructor. “This is just remarkable for a student who had never competed in speech before this year.”
The news comes on the heels of the GCU team earning the rank of 14th out of 179 schools after competing in the National Parliamentary Debate Association championships last month. Freshman Megan Truesdall finished 10th in the nation out of 286 speakers, and her debate partner, senior Alaina Owen, finished 14th.
Kaiser, who is graduating next week with a B.S. in Secondary Education with an Emphasis in English, outperformed competitors from such nationally ranked schools as the University of Illinois, Texas Christian University, Saint Joseph’s University and Wiley College (a top-five ranked team from the movie “The Great Debaters”).
The tournament, which began April 13 and ended Monday, was held at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. It’s the largest national championship tournament in the country and has 66 schools competing and more than 1,000 total entries, Regan said.
“I couldn’t be happier to pick up a national championship at our last tournament,” Regan said.
Dr. Sherman Elliott, CHSS dean, offered a hearty congratulations to Regan.
“Marvelous, ” Elliott said. “What a tremendous way to see your work in action. Many professors get to see how they have impacted a learner over the course of a semester. You get to see a performance that you had a hand in.”
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Contact Laurie Merrill at (602) 639-6511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.