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Bethel qualifies all team members to national forensics tournament

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – In its final tournament before national competition, the Bethel College forensics team qualified its last two squad members.

At the AFA-NIET District III qualifying tournament in Oklahoma City March 4, Shekhinah Jones, junior from Salina, qualified in Poetry Interpretation, and Heather Chaney, sophomore from Erie, qualified in Informative Speaking and Communication Analysis.

That makes a total of six students in 15 events who will compete at the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET), April 1-3 on the campus of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.

Besides Chaney and Jones, those students and their events are:

? Jacob Miller, senior from Westmoreland: Informative Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, Persuasive Speaking, Program Oral Interpretation, Communication Analysis, After Dinner Speaking

? Clinton Unruh, senior from Newton: Extemporaneous Speaking

? Emily Kondziola, sophomore from North Newton: Informative Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, Extemporaneous Speaking

? Akiyaa Hagen, freshman from Salina: Poetry Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation

In addition, said Mallory Marsh, Bethel head forensics coach, the District III Committee (which oversees teams from Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas), forwarded Miller’s name along with those of students from the University of Texas-Austin and Rice University to the 2017 AFA All-American Selection Committee for consideration.

“We will learn whether Jacob is selected for the All-American Team at the opening of the AFA-NIET on Saturday, April 1,” March said. “If selected, he will be Bethel’s first-ever AFA All-American.”

Marsh, Bethel assistant professor of communication arts, is Bethel’s director of forensics, assisted by Gail Stucky, Bethel co-director of libraries.

Bethel College is the only private college in Kansas listed in the analysis of top colleges and universities, the Washington Monthly National Universities-Liberal Arts section and the National Liberal Arts College category of U.S. News & World Report, all for 2016'17. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.