Speech and debate team places fifth in nation

Speech and Debate teamThe Harper College speech and debate team lived up to its reputation with another strong performance at Phi Rho Pi, the national community college tournament.

This year’s squad finished in fifth place out of 64 community colleges competing earlier this month in Costa Mesa, Calif.

“The coaching staff (Jeff Przybylo, Margaret Bilos and Josh Sunderbruch) is not only proud of the team’s competitive accomplishments, but also of their development as strong communicators, writers, critical thinkers, researchers, problem solvers and leaders,” Przybylo said.

Harper’s team won gold in three of the 13 speaking events, boasting national champions in Impromptu Speaking (Kim Jimenez of Schaumburg and Zack Mayo of Palatine), Extemporaneous Speaking (Mayo) and Speech to Entertain (Arman Raman, Elk Grove Village).

Harper was also presented with the Mariner Award, the most prestigious prize in community college speech and debate. Each year, a school’s points are added to their previous total. The team at the top wins, and then their total resets to zero. Only 18 different teams have won the honor over the past 40 years.

Przybylo attributed the honor to the longevity, consistency and hard work of the past and present coaches, hundreds of students and a supportive administration.

In addition to the three gold medals, Harper won silver in two events and bronze in 18 events. Coach Margaret Bilos was also awarded the 2016 National Coaching Fellowship Award for her dedication, creativity and service over the past 10 years.

Earlier this season, Harper took second at the state championships, gold at the regional championships and placed 11th out of 84 teams at Pi Kappa Delta, a national tournament for four-year institutions.

“We are very proud and thankful for all of the support from the college,” Przybylo said.

Media contact:Kim Pohl, Media Relations Manager, 847.925.6159

Last Updated: 3/10/23