NCFCA Trophies

Photo Courtesy of NCFCA Facebook page

More than 350 homeschooled high school students from across Texas and Oklahoma will attend the Regional Qualifying Speech and Debate Tournament on March 12-14, hosted by the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association (NCFCA).

The NCFCA, a nonprofit organization, is the oldest and most-established homeschool forensics league in the country. It’s dedicated to bringing communications-based competitive activities to homeschooled students, such as speech, debate and general art performance.

The upcoming tournament will have 11 separate speech events and two different types of debates. It will take place at First Baptist Church of Frisco.

One group of Frisco homeschooled students has been practicing and preparing for months at the Lighthouse Church in Prosper, with hopes for a strong showing at the tournament

Thatcher Townson, a homeschool senior, keeps the group organized and focused. He’s participated in the event seven straight years.

“It started out just wanting to be able to talk in front of people,” Townson said. “It then became wanting to get into debate and wanting to be able to think about what I’m saying, as opposed to just speaking in front of people.”

Townson said his favorite event to participate in is the extemporaneous speaking, a limited preparation event during which the speaker has a half-hour to prepare a seven-minute speech on a current event topic.

“These events and competitions help us get whatever we want out of them,” he said. “It’s really all about how much time and effort you want to put into them. I think I get a lot out of it because of the amount of time I put into it.”

NCFCA offers 11 individual speech events, divided into three main categories:  platform speaking, interpretive speaking, and limited preparation speaking. Each category offers distinct opportunities for students to develop their communication skills.

Elizabeth Box, whose son is in the group, said the event’s benefits for students are noticeable.

“As a parent, it’s great that students are competing and getting help with speaking, but more than anything, it’s developing life skills,” she said.

According to Stacy Thorne, a parent and volunteer with the group, most speeches last between six and 10 minutes. It takes more than 800 volunteers to put on such a tournament, she said.

“Our goal is to get the community involved to come hear these students speak and provide feedback,” Thorne said. “We want to train these students to be effective communicators in the real world, with people from all walks of life. So input from community members is the best critique we can give them.”

For more information about the NCFCA, visit ncfca.org.

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