Marian University Speech Team Takes Home Eight State Championships

by Katie Bradley | Mar 03, 2015

The Marian University Speech Team placed second over-all and brought home eight state championships in the state tournament at Butler University on Saturday, February 21.

First place finishes included Alecia Kissel ’15 in poetry and rhetorical criticism, Amber Ferrari ’15 in impromptu speaking and the scholarly essay contest, Marcel Moore ’18 in novice prose and novice informative speaking, Marah Leonfils '17 in programmed oral interpretation, Courtney Byrd '17 in informative speaking, and Clara Garner '17 in novice extemporaneous speaking.   

“The two events that I won in—poetry interpretation and rhetorical criticism—both have a special place in my heart. They are the events that I spent the most time crafting since August about topics I truly care about, and time and time again the hard work pays off,” said senior Alecia Kissel. “Speech will be very hard to say goodbye to because I have been competing for ten years, but my time on the Marian University team especially gives me the best parting gift I could ask for: countless memories, good ones.”

This state competition is one of 14 tournaments the team travels to each year. At tournaments, students compete in a variety of events including impromptu speaking, persuasive speaking, dramatic interpretation, after dinner speaking, and duo interpretation, among others.

The team’s faith-inspired approach to forensics emphasizes advocacy, self-expression, community-building, and horizon-broadening as paths to spiritual maturity across a diversity of religious traditions.

“I tell stories about St. Francis, and I say a prayer before each competition.  The coaches offer a little life coaching along with the speech coaching,” said the Rev. George LaMaster, Ph.D., associate professor of communication and coach of the speech team. “Mostly, though, I think the team is just a verdant culture.  It’s a place where people feel both accepted for who they are and challenged to do more than they thought possible.”   

Kissel agrees, saying “Being on the speech team here at Marian University means that I get to be entirely myself. My teammates and coaches are my family, and we're all so goofy together. At the same time, we also know how to get work done, and that's how we accomplish being the small but mighty team no matter who we are competing against.”             

To learn more about the Marian University Speech Team, contact George LaMaster at   

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