ECU’S STEPHEN DECKER WINS STATE FORENSIC CHAMPIONSHIP, SLOT IN NATIONAL TOURNAMENT
Stephen Decker, a sophomore majoring in legal studies at East Central University, won the After Dinner Speaking competition Feb. 25 at the annual Oklahoma Intercollegiate Forensic Association Championship tournament.
His win also qualifies him to participate in the prestigious American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament in early April at Texas State University-San Marcos.
While Decker joins a long line of ECU students who have won state championships, he is ECU’s first state winner in six years. He will be the first ECU student to attend the NIET in almost 20 years.
Fourteen schools from Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma participated in the OIFA championships, hosted by Oklahoma City University. Decker beat 14 other participants in After Dinner Speaking.
The state championship caps a very successful season for Decker. He began in October with a fourth-place finish at the Central States Tournament in Longview, Mo. He placed second at Cameron University’s annual Christmas Classic in December. In January he finished third at the Texas Two Step Swing at Tarrant County College. In early February he finished fourth at the Sweetheart Swing at the University of Oklahoma.
“Stephen has worked hard on this speech for many months,” said Dr. Robert Greenstreet, ECU forensics director. “He has continually revised his speech, including up-to-the-minute research as it became available, fine-tuning his delivery, and both adding and deleting material to maximize his audience impact.”
Decker will continue to fine-tune the presentation as he prepares to compete for a national title. His family lives in Whitewright, Texas, so he is looking forward to visiting his home state to compete with the best collegiate speakers in the country, Greenstreet said.
The last ECU student to qualify for NIET was Renee Waters, now an attorney in St. Louis, Mo. She qualified in Persuasive Speaking but decided to attend the Interstate Oratorical Association championships instead of the NIET. Waters and Atiera Curry won state championships six years ago in Persuasive Speaking and Poetry Interpretation, respectively.