On April 17 and 18 Sterling College hosted more than 400 judges and high school competitors for the West Kansas National Forensic League National Qualifying Tournament. Nineteen high schools competed in the tournament, and over fifty Sterling College students and faculty members volunteered as judges or hosts.
The National Forensic League is the nation's oldest and largest debate and speech honor society. Since its founding in 1925, over 1 million members have enrolled in all 50 states. The NFL promotes secondary school speech and debate activities and interscholastic competition to develop students' lifelong skills.
Sterling College was selected as the host site for the West Kansas Tournament because of its geographic proximity to the competing schools and for its excellence in the area of debate and forensics at the college level. Two of the high school coaches who brought teams to the tournament, Betsy Dutton and Chris Hinshaw, are Sterling College alumni. Both had students from their teams qualify for the national NFL tournament in Birmingham, Ala., in June. Dutton, debate and forensics coach at Sterling High School, had four students qualify, and Hinshaw, debate and forensics coach at Lyons High School, had one student qualify, Vance Stegman, who has already committed to Sterling College.
Sterling College Debate and Forensics coach Ken Troyer commented, "We had high school students speaking in every building on campus, and the competition was excellent. An added bonus was the interaction of the contestants and their coaches with the community. They stayed in the area and were able to enjoy local dining and shopping when there were breaks in the competition. The entire event was very successful."