P O W E L L, W y o. - Four Montana students contributed in no small way to a rise in Wyoming's metal content when they returned to Northwest College in Powell after competing April 14-20 in the Phi Rho Pi National Tournament in Chicago.
The NWC speech team came home with enough gold, silver and bronze awards to claim its highest finish on record at the culminating tournament of the season. Nine of the 10 students who made the trip contributed to the medal count, an unprecedented number of NWC national award winners. Five of the students who participated call Montana home.
For their efforts, Northwest College scored a gold in debate and a bronze overall.
That gold was the direct result of debaters from Montana who took more than their share of awards in both the parliamentary and Lincoln-Douglas debate categories.
The duo of Pam Garman and Tiffani Kennedy from Townsend, Mont., were almost invincible.
The two 2007 Broadwater High School graduates drove their outstanding high school forensics success to the top of the collegiate level as NWC freshmen by scoring silver as a parliamentary debate team. On their way to the medal round, they discussed the pros and cons of facial recognition biometrics, altering presidential elections and the environment, among other topics.
Individually, in the Lincoln-Douglas debate competition, Garman picked up another silver and Kennedy grabbed the bronze. After such a stellar performance at the national level as freshmen, these two are sure bets to be stars of next year's team. Both are political science majors. Garman is the daughter of Mary Garman of Townsend. Kennedy is the daughter of Tami Kennedy, also of Townsend.
Another master of alchemy, ReAnna Kero of Red Lodge, turned a bronze in parliamentary debate into a gold for the team when she paired with Doni Rae Chouinard of Powell, Wyo. Kero, a 2006 Carbon County High School graduate, studies communication and graphic design at Northwest.
Lilli Schoer of Billings also competed in debate, but it was in the individual platform events where she struck metal. She claimed a bronze award in program oral interpretation for a piece dealing with weight issues in women, and matched that with another bronze for her poetry selections on the challenges of growing up. Schoer graduated from Skyview High School in 2006 and is studying to become a plastic surgeon. Her parents are Cathie and Gary Schoer of Billings.
In addition to the Montana contributors, five NWC students from Wyoming and Washington pulled their weight at the national tournament by claiming one individual gold, five silver and five bronze awards.
The Northwest Speech Team, coached by Duane Fish, Jeannie Hunt and Fred Ebert, has long been known as a national powerhouse in collegiate forensics. Even when fielding young squads, the NWC coaches marvel as each year's team members seem determined to exceed the accomplishments of their predecessors. The 2007-08 squad matched the previous year's perfect win record by taking community college sweepstakes at every tournament during the regular season, and then topped that with the best national finish in the school's history.