NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College has its first-ever American Forensic Association (AFA) All-American.
April 1 during opening ceremonies for this year’s AFA National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET), held on the campus of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, senior Jacob Miller, Westmoreland, was announced as a member of the 2017 All-American team.
The chair of each AFA District Committee submits names to the All-American Team Committee (up to six total from a district). Bethel is part of District III, which comprises Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.
The All-American honor is meant to recognize students beyond the area of forensics competition. Achievement in forensics holds equal weight with scholarship and service. AFA All-Americans are seniors who have demonstrated outstanding qualities in all three areas.
Nominees must demonstrate personal qualities that indicate understanding of the role of intercollegiate forensics competition in a liberal education; show evidence of success and good conduct in forensics; exhibit excellence in the classroom not only by grade-point average but also by the range and challenge of study; and demonstrate commitment to the betterment of their community through their forensic and non-forensic activities.
Miller, a 2013 graduate of Rock Creek High School in St. George, has competed for Bethel forensics all four years, including qualifying to AFA-NIET each of those years.
In 2015, Miller became the first Bethel student in 35 years to win the state championship in Persuasive Speaking and qualify to the Interstate Oratory Contest (IO), the oldest and most prestigious competition of its kind.
This spring, Miller repeated the feat and will return to IO at the end of April. He also qualified the maximum number of events possible to AFA-NIET, with six.
Also in 2015, Miller became the first Bethel student since 2008 to finish in the top 3 for the binational C. Henry Smith Peace Oration contest sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee and open to students from all Mennonite colleges and universities in North America. Miller took third place.
Miller has served in Bethel’s student government as student body vice president for two years, 2014-15 and 2015–16, and as president this year, 2016–17.
He was a member of the men’s basketball team, taking Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference honors as Freshman of the Year in his first year and periodic Player of the Week honors throughout his career.
He was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) All-District Academic Team earlier this year, which recognizes achievement on the court and in the classroom, the first Bethel basketball player to earn the designation. He is also an NAIA Academic All-American for the second year in a row.
Miller will graduate in May 2017 with a double major in communication arts and English and a minor in business.