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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Nov. 3, 2013

Speaking Bearcats forensics team showcases performance skills

By Kari Sierks, media relations assistant

Northwest Missouri State University’s award-winning forensics team will perform its annual showcase at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4, in the J.W. Jones Student Union.

The showcase will feature four to five performances, including interpretation performances and one speech. It is free and open to the public.

The Speaking Bearcats provide students with opportunities to hone performance and speaking skills against peers from other colleges within the state, across the region and throughout the country.

“The Speaking Bearcats are some of the top performers in the country, but most of our events occur at other universities,” said Brian Swafford, who coaches the team and serves as instructor of communication in Northwest’s Department of Communication and Mass Media. “This showcase gives the Northwest community a chance to see the outstanding work the members of the team are doing.”

The Speaking Bearcats’ season starts during the fall trimester and runs through March. They travel to seven regular season tournaments, the Missouri Association of Forensic Activities (MAFA) State Championship and the Pi Kappa Delta national tournament.

“Students hone public speaking, critical thinking, performance and interpersonal skills while competing against students from across the country,” Swafford said. “We also get the experience of traveling to new parts of the country. The competition provides students with additional incentive to push themselves while rewarding top students for their work and talent.”

During their 2012-2013 season, the Speaking Bearcats placed second at the MAFA State Championship, and placed 10th in the individual events while competing against 100 schools at the Pi Kappa Delta biennial tournament. The team has also produced individual national champions in two of the last three seasons.

Gabbi Ray, a senior merchandising major from St. Louis, was a state champion  and national champion last year in the Program of Oral Interpretation category. She is in her third year with the Northwest forensics team.

“I love performing because it gives me a chance to express myself in ways that other activities that I do don’t allow me to,” Ray said.

For more information about the Speaking Bearcats, contact Swafford at 660.562.1506 or

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468