Speech, Debate Team Nabs Titles at State Contest

Four members of Harper College's powerhouse Speech and Debate Team earned top titles at the recent state tournament at Northern Illinois University, propelling Harper to a third-place finish among two-year schools.

The team clinched state championships in Dramatic Interpretation (Kate Fundarek of Hoffman Estates), Persuasion (Patrick Halprin of Hanover Park), Extemporaneous Speaking (Elisa Galvan of Hoffman Estates) and Parliamentary Debate (Galvan and Brianna Bitout of Arlington Heights). Overall, 12 of Harper's 34 speeches advanced to the finals, earning the competitors top-six finishes.

"We are so proud of this team's performance and their ability to deliver winning results while simultaneously learning more about the art of debate," says Professor Jeff Przybylo, who coaches the team with Professor Josh Sunderbruch and Assistant Professor Margaret Bilos. "The students' strong public speaking skills, teamwork, goal-setting and leadership have collectively contributed to their ongoing success."

The team, whose members also get one-on-one coaching from a trio of Harper Speech and Debate alumni, will travel to Los Angeles in April to compete in the Phi Rho Pi national tournament. The Hawks finished in third place at that contest in 2012 and 2011.

For 15 years, Harper's team has been among the most competitive in the country, landing in the top 10 nationally for the last 11 years and collecting more than 30 national gold medals.

Team members will perform for the public at their annual Comedy Night, set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 19 in Room A238, Building A on Harper's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. Tickets are $6 for general admission. Contact the Box Office, 847.925.6100 or www.harpercollege.edu/boxoffice.

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, 847.925.6159