Champion speech team hosts Night Before Nationals

Harper College speech and debate teamMarch 27, 2014

Before they head to this year’s national competition in Denver, the Harper College speech and debate team will give the public a preview at the annual Night Before Nationals performance.

Twelve students will perform the pieces they plan to take to the Phi Ro Pi national tournament, from the group-performed Reader’s Theater to Impromptu Speaking, in which a speaker is handed a surprise topic, prepares and delivers a speech in just a matter of minutes.

The performance will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, in the Performing Arts Center on the College’s main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. The last in a series of on-campus performances by the team, the event precedes the Phi Rho Pi community college nationals, scheduled for April 7 to 12 in Denver. Harper's team placed fourth at that tournament last year.

“This is our chance to show what we’ve been doing, highlight our best events and give back to the community by showcasing what we hope to present when we go to nationals next week,” said Margaret Bilos, Assistant Director of Forensics and Chair of the Speech and Theatre Department at Harper.

Team captain Patrick Halpin said he’s feeling a mix of excitement and nostalgia.

“Each year on the team I have been given great teammates and even greater friends," said Halpin, who will graduate in May and is looking to transfer to schools including Northwestern University, Boston College and University of Pennsylvania. "Our team this year is a single unit; everyone has a unique role that they do extremely well."

Harper’s speech team is wrapping up another successful season highlighted by four tournament wins and more than 200 awards. In February, the team took second place among community colleges in the state and won five individual event state championships. Most recently, the team won the Community College Championship on March 23 at the Pi Kappa Delta national tournament in Indianapolis.

Tickets for the Night Before Nationals performance are $6. For more information, contact the box office at 847.925.6100 or visit

Press contact: Kim Pohl, Media Relations Manager, 847.925.6159