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WNCC Speech Team to Host Free National Preview Showcase

April 05, 2018
Three Western Nebraska Community College students will have an opportunity to compete on the national stage this month.
 
Hannah Plasencio, a freshman from Mitchell; Mikaela Graham, a freshman from Greeley, Colorado; and Delidah Endrawos, a sophomore from the Netherlands have qualified for three national speech tournaments, including the National Forensics Association (NFA) National Tournament, which will be held April 19-23 at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
 
"We're very proud of the accomplishments of our team members this season," said Bill Sheffield, co-coach of the WNCC Speech & Debate team. "Last year, we attended only the NFA National Championship Tournament with a total of five events. This year, however, we were able to qualify a total of nine events for the tournament."
 
At the NFA National Tournament, Endrawos, Graham, and Plasencio will be competing against students from colleges across the nation, including four-year colleges and universities. While competing against the nation's best can be overwhelming, the opportunity to participate in the NFA National Tournament provides the Cougars the chance to hear different stories and perspectives from students around the country.
 
"We are there to compete, but we are also there to support each other," Graham said. "That's my favorite part."
 
"It helps me become a better person when it comes to speaking skills, but also when it comes to making connections and being understanding of others," Plasencio said.
 
Before the Cougars head to Wisconsin later this month, WNCC's national-qualifying students will be hosting a showcase to highlight their performances to the public. The showcase will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. April 12 at the West Nebraska Arts Center in Scottsbluff.
There is no cost to attend, though team donations will be accepted. Hors D'Oeuvres will be served at 5:30 p.m. with performances beginning at 6 p.m. Those interested in seeing a sample of the events WNCC will be performing at the national tournament are encouraged to attend, but are reminded the performances will contain adult themes and language.
 
"We talk about a lot of hard topics and things that sometimes make people uncomfortable, but they need to be talked about because they're important issues in the United States," Graham said.
 
Such issues on display at the showcase will include Plasencio's poetry on society's view of biracial identity, Graham's poetry on immigration issues, and Endrawos informative speech on direct primary care and healthcare in the United States. Each topic has personal meaning to the WNCC students, as they're able to offer their own views to timely issues affecting the United States today. Though the topics are intense by nature, Endrawos understands the importance of using speech to address the issues, she said. If nothing else, speech provides a platform to spark those discussions.
 
"You hear other people's opinions and you talk about these things you'd never otherwise talk about," Endrawos said. "When are we going to talk about these things otherwise? You'd never start a conversation about it. In speech you hear about what people say about it and it starts a conversation and it makes you think."
 
Graduating high school seniors interested in scholarship opportunities with the WNCC Speech and Debate team should contact the program at speechteam@wncc.edu.