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Small but mighty: Cobber Speech taking six to Nationals 

MOORHEAD — Public Speaking is no easy feat, yet the Concordia College Speech team is almost as old as the institution itself and has been training students to become eloquent speakers for over a century.  

“I don’t remember exactly what year it (Concordia College Forensics) was founded, but it was within the first ten years with the literary societies.” said According to Dominic Meyers, the Assistant Director of Forensics at Concordia 

The first literary society, according to the Concordia College Archives, was founded in 1916  with the Alpha Kappa Chi Literary Society There were also “Early Societies”, where they would participate in “various early debating, drama and literature” which were formed between 1896 to 1936. Both the terms “literary societies” and “early societies” were used interchangeably, and both executed the same idea: To help students grow within public speaking.  

Concordia’s team is only a group of six students.   

“We started out with closer to 12, but we had some folks that joined other groups.” Darren Valenta, director of Concordia College Forensics said. “12 is about the average number for a college speech team.” 

This small but mighty team has 14 qualified events that they are able to take to nationals between the six students, Meyers said. 

“We’re one of the smallest teams, but we have a good turnout.” Meyers said.  

To qualify for the American Forensic Association National Speech Tournament (AFA-NST; formerly known as the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament, or AFA-NIET), students earn legs in competitions.  

“Each tournament has the winner, but there is no team tally for team sweepstakes” Valenta said. “We keep track of legs, and you have to get two legs to qualify for the (national) tournament.” Students earn legs in a few different ways, but mainly, according to Valenta, by “Getting into finals and placing in the top 6”. 

Jonah Krogstad, a first-year speech member and freshman at Concordia College, has been competing in Impromptu, Prose and Drama. At state, Krogstad was also recognized as a Parli Semifinalist within Debate.  

“My time on the team has been an amazing educational experience.” Krogstad said. “Whether it be continuing and honing performance skills from high school or developing new ones in events such as Impromptu and Debate, I feel like I have really grown as a speaker and performer because of my time on the speech team.” 

Students spend the year preparing for various meets across the state of Minnesota, where they compete to qualify for state , qualify for nationals and continue to build on their public speaking skills.  

Krogstad also discussed his ability to make friends with his teammates and other competitors.   

“Speech has also been an opportunity to make friends both on our team and with fellow competitors at tournaments. During my time in speech I have forged some amazing friendships as well as made some valuable connections with professionals working in the communications field.” Krogstad said.  

The speech team doesn’t just compete. They also do community outreach and service projects. 

“We volunteered at the food bank at the beginning of this school year. We do some fun team bonding events.” Valenta said. “You can email either of us to join and I would recommend thinking about our fall work week”.   

The Speech team meets from Aug. 19 to Aug. 23, where they get a head start on the season to prepare for the competitions ahead.  

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