Speech and Debate team wins state championship

March 13, 2015

Harper Speech and Debate team

Harper College's Speech and Debate team is peaking at exactly the right time.

After some bumps earlier this season, the squad traveled to Northern Illinois University last weekend for the Illinois Intercollegiate Forensics Association Tournament and placed first among 22 two-year schools. In addition to winning the overall team category, Harper students were named state champions in seven of the 12 events, which range from the group-performed Readers Theater to Impromptu Speaking.

"It was without a doubt one of the most fantastic days the team has had since I've been here," said Professor Jeff Przybylo, who coaches the team with Margaret Bilos and Josh Sunderbruch. "They had twice the points of the second-place school, which is unheard of."

Meghan Cwiok of Mount Prospect placed first in the Overall Speaker event category.

Each teammate has three to five speeches or prepared events, which adds up to about 60, 10-minute performances, or 600 total minutes of material that is coached and revised again and again. Przybylo credits the team's performance to that hard work and preparation, as well as their exposure to strong teams at various out-of-state tournaments.

Next, Harper will compete in regionals later this month and then head to Cleveland for the national tournament. Sending them off will be the team's annual Night Before Nationals event. The public is invited to enjoy a showcase of the team's work at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 1, in the Performing Arts Center on the College's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. Tickets are $4 to $6. Visit harpercollege.edu/boxoffice or call 847.925.6100.

Harper's Speech and Debate team has been one of the most competitive in the nation, consistently landing in the top 10 for more than a decade. The team placed fourth in the nation at the 2013 National Tournament.

In addition to Cwiok, the team includes Meagan Faye Allen of Hoffman Estates, Dustin Beelow of Des Plaines, Anna Dowd of Elk Grove Village, Stephanie Fox of Palatine, Celine Hall of Elk Grove Village, Joe Haynes of Schaumburg, Mason Hoppe of Barrington Hills, Chris Kremer of Lake Barrington, Sydney Maggio of Huntley, Zack Mayo of Rolling Meadows, Miguel Melgar of Wheeling, Arman Rahman of Des Plaines, David Roznovjak of Mount Prospect and Gissel Saavedra of Hanover Park.

For more information, visit harperspeech.net.

Media contact:Kim Pohl, Media Relations Manager, 847.925.6159