At a school with a long history of success in and contributions to the realm of speech and debate, Colorado College Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students Mike Edmonds continues to garner national attention for CC’s forensics program with his recent award from James Logan High School.
Over Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, Dean Edmonds was awarded with the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award by the high school in Union City, California.
As described by the Colorado College News Team, the Community Service Award is “emblematic of service above self” and was given in recognition of Edmonds’ “dedication and inspirational leadership” within the forensics and debate community.
Edmonds competed in forensics throughout high school and college, but has continuously fostered the speech and debate program at Colorado College in a variety of ways. While at CC, Edmonds has coached teams and students, taught courses on public speaking, and hosted national tournaments on campus.
“Not only did I come to CC with interest in [forensics], but CC certainly has had a long history and culture of competitive speech and debate,” said Edmonds. “I’m lucky because it’s one of my personal interests, but it’s great to be at place where it’s also a professional interest.”
Starting out as a two-person debate program, forensics at CC has evolved to include a speech team, debate team, and mock trial team. The program also provides coaching to students and classes.
Very few students are aware of the history of forensics at Colorado College, with records dating over 100 years. Former speech/debate coach and Professor of Economics Al Johnson not only conceived and helped develop the Block Plan, but also co-founded the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA). Parliamentary debate is now one of the more popular forms of debate nationwide.
Edmonds, who worked alongside Johnson, is making just as many contributions to the national community of speech and debate. Besides being a huge sponsor of different high school programs, Edmonds also serves on the National Speech and Debate Association’s Inclusive Committee.
“A liberally educated person needs to have the ability to articulate for him- or herself and also the willingness and the skill to talk for those who can’t or won’t talk for themselves,” said Edmonds. “You get that when you do forensics. It’s not about the trophy, it’s about the skills you learn and the process.”
This weekend, CC is hosting the American Forensics Association District Qualifier tournament on campus as students from various universities and colleges compete one last time in hopes of qualifying for the national tournament.
At the same time, Dean Edmonds will be traveling to the National High School Tournament to serve as the district judge for the congressional debate competition.
“I don’t know anyone else in the country who supports [high school debate] more honestly,” said Julian Plaza, the current Director of Forensics at CC.
Students interested in getting involved with forensics at CC can contact Julian Plaza at email@example.com. Dean Edmonds and Julian Plaza are also both offering two different public speaking courses during Block Eight.