NORTH NEWTON, KAN. - Bethel College seniors Christopher Ryan Graber and Aziza Hasan received Thresher Awards in Forensics during the college’s annual Awards Convocation May 12. The convocation, held at the end of each spring semester, recognizes academic excellence.
Christopher Ryan Graber is a communication arts major from Newton. Aziza Hasan is a history and social science major from Halstead. They were honored for superior performance in debate and forensics competition during their four years at Bethel College.
The Thresher Award is given to graduating seniors for outstanding and sustained contribution in performance areas, for outstanding creative achievement in the applied sciences, or for completion of an outstanding and substantial academic project.
Professor John McCabe-Juhnke, director of forensics at Bethel, commended Graber and Hasan for their consistent record of excellence in debate and forensics competition. As a freshmen debate team, Graber and Hasan won a national debate title at the Novice National Tournament and distinguished themselves as the only team at the tournament with an undefeated record.
During their first two years of competition, Graber and Hasan also performed as a team in duo interpretation, advancing regularly to final rounds in state and regional forensics competition.
Graber competed in prose, poetry, programmed oral interpretation and extemporaneous speaking. He earned berths to the prestigious American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET) in his sophomore and senior years. He also maintained an "impressive record" in parliamentary debate, according to McCabe-Juhnke. He consistently ranked among the top debaters in the region, garnering six tournament championships in both state and regional competitions. In his junior year, he advanced to elimination rounds at the National Parliamentary Debate Association Tournament.
Hasan also distinguished herself as a competitor in forensics individual events. She modeled determination and self-discipline and ranked consistently as tournament champion in a variety of individual events. She was the Kansas state champion in prose interpretation for two years. As a senior, she won state championships in three events-prose, dramatic interpretation and duo interpretation.
Hasan competed in all four event categories (interpretation, prepared speeches, limited preparation events, and debate). She distinguished herself by earning berths to the AFA-NIET in all four years of college competition.
"Chris and Aziza’s state, regional and national recognition is even more impressive when considered in light of the high academic standards they’ve maintained in their Bethel course work. Both will graduate with bachelor’s degrees in four years. Chris and Aziza’s admirable talents, dedication, discipline, and competitive achievements have distinguished them as truly outstanding contributors to the reputation of forensics and debate at Bethel College," McCabe-Juhnke said.