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Friday, May 6, 2016

NFL Competition held in Cherokee

Monday, April 7, 2008

Student Congress a day-long event

By Dan Whitney

Staff Writer

There was an NFL event held here in Cherokee on March 29, but don't worry, you didn't miss an appearance by Brett Favre, Randy Moss, or Tom Brady, because it wasn't THAT NFL, but rather the National Forensic League - the unsung, underpublicized debate team.

The National Forensic League is the nation's oldest and largest debate and speech honor society. Since their founding in 1925, they have enrolled over 1 million members in all 50 states.

Taking the oath -- Students from 16 schools from around the state take the NFL Oath prior to starting the Student Congress event on March 29. Photo by Dan Whitney
The National Forensic League believes that all students should be empowered to become effective communicators, ethical individuals, critical thinkers, and leaders in a democratic society. The NFL exists to promote secondary school speech and debate activities and interscholastic competition as a means to develop a student's lifelong skills and values, and to increase the public's awareness of the value of speech, debate, and communication education.

The NFL once again held their statewide Student Congress in Cherokee Saturday, hosted by Washington High School's debate coach Jessie Van De Walle and assistant coach Angela Rupp.

The Student Congress is "individual debate in a large group setting," according to the National Forensic League website. Legislative debaters research and write pieces of Congressional legislation that they feel will better the society in which we live. At a tournament, debaters then speak on the legislation while using proper parliamentary procedure. Judges score each competitor, based on argumentation ability, speaking technique, knowledge of parliamentary procedure, and overall participation.

There were 16 schools at Saturday's Congress - Ames, Ankeny, Fort Dodge, Des Moines Lincoln, Okoboji, Des Moines Roosevelt, Spencer, Cherokee Washington, Des Moines East, West Des Moines Valley, Newell-Fonda, Sioux City Bishop Heelan, Sioux City West, Sioux City North, Sioux Center, and West Des Moines Dowling Catholic.

Judges -- These ten BVU students served as judges at the March 29th Student Congress in Cherokee. Aurelia native Brian Janssen is at the far right. Photo by Dan Whitney
Tim Scheaff, the debate coach at Dowling, served as master of ceremonies at the Opening Ceremony Saturday.Scheaff thanked Cherokee for serving as the host of this event and said that one of the benfits of this has been having Buena Vista University students serve as adjudicators for the event. Scheaff then introduced the BVU students - including freshman Brian Jansen of Aurelia - who would serve as the judges. All of the BVU students are actively involved in politics.

Addressing the group -- Cherokee Washington Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Chalstron gave the opening address at Saturday's Student Congress event. Photo by Dan Whitney
After VFW Post #2253 of Cherokee presented the colors, Cherokee Washington student Liz Koss sang the National Anthem, and the students from the 16 high schools were then administered the NFL Oath.

Cherokee Washington High School Superintendent Dr. John Chalstrom gave the opening address, in which he acknowledged the lack of publicity the forensic organizations generally receive, despite the students' hard work, citing the students from the Des Moines schools' rising early to head out for Cherokee at 4 a.m. as an example. Chalstrom stressed the importance of forensic skills in everyday life - no matter what occupational field one enters - and stated that he feels his own forensic training at Fort Dodge High School has served him well as an adult.

Following the retiring of the colors, the students were dismissed for Session I, with the members of the Senate meeting in the Washington High School Library, the members of House A in Room 15, and members of House B in Room 8.

Following a lunch break in the school Commons from noon-1 p.m., the House and Senate reconvened for Session II, which ended with a Senate vote at 3:30 p.m.

The following awards were presented at a 4:15 p.m. ceremony (Note: 'qualifiers' qualified for the National Student Congress in Las Vegas) :


Qualifiers - CJ Miller Okoboji and Kelsey Klemme, West Des Moines VAlley

1st Alternate - Sarah Dillard, Spencer

2nd Alternate - Nicole Westergaard, Newell- Fonda

3rd Alternate - Conor Schenck, Ankeny

House A

Qualifier - Zoe Russell, Ames

1st Alternate - Andrew Arbogast, Sioux Center

2nd Alternate - Dakotah Johansen, DM Lincoln

3rd Alternate - Charlie Bass, Bishop Heelan

House B

Qualifier - Andrew Heidersheidt, Ankeny

1st Alternate - Arthur Cho, Ft. Dodge

2nd Alternate - Chris Miller, WDM Valley

3rd Alternate - Ben Robey, Dowling Catholic

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