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HCC Forensics team has strong showing at state tournament

Forensics team members on zoom

Highland Community College Forensics team had strong showings at two virtual tournaments at the end of February and early March at the Illinois Intercollegiate Forensics Association State Tournament against community colleges and four-year universities.

The team competed February 26-27 and March 5-6. The team’s hard work leading up to the tournament paid off, as Highland had one of its strongest showings at the state tournament in years — winning three state championships and earning several additional awards.

“The 2020-2021 season has been unique and challenging in so many ways, but this team has truly persevered through every obstacle and embraced every opportunity to improve from tournament to tournament,” said Harry Bodell, Highland speech instructor and forensics coach. “I could not be prouder of these four exceptional students. Not only have they made Highland proud through their competitive successes, but more importantly, they have made Highland proud through their strong character and commitment to the values of family, advocacy, and scholarship that this program is built upon.”

The team’s results are as follows:

  • International Public Debate (IPDA):
  • Top Novice — Mike Sherman (Davis, Ill.)
  • Two-Year 5th Place Speaker — Shirley Hounnou (Freeport, Ill.)
  • Two-Year 3rd Place Speaker — Mike Sherman (Davis, Ill.)
  • Open Division Quarterfinalist — Mike Sherman (Davis, Ill.)
  • Two-Year State Champion — Shirley Hounnou (Freeport, Ill.)
  • Parliamentary Debate:
  • Top Novice Team — Mike Sherman (Davis, Ill.) and Shirley Hounnou (Freeport, Ill.)
  • Two-Year 2nd Place Speaker — Shirley Hounnou (Freeport, Ill.)
  • Two-Year 1st Place Speaker — Mike Sherman (Davis, Ill.)
  • Two-Year State Champions — Shirley Hounnou (Freeport, Ill.) and Mike Sherman (Davis, Ill.)
  • Two-Year Impromptu Speaking:
  • Sixth Place — Rhys Love (Freeport, Ill.)
  • Two-Year Informative Speaking:
  • Fifth Place — Shirley Hounnou (Freeport, Ill.)
  • Two-Year Prose Interpretation:
  • Sixth Place — Shirley Hounnou (Freeport, Ill.)
  • IIFA Team Sweepstakes:
  • Two-Year Debate Team Sweepstakes: First Place
  • Two-Year Overall Team Sweepstakes: Fifth Place

As the speech and debate season enters its final stretch, the team is preparing for the Phi Rho Pi Regional Tournament on March 19-20 and the Phi Rho Pi National Tournament on April 5-11. Current Highland students can still get involved, and several scholarships are available for the 2021-2022 season. For more information about joining Forensics contact Harry Bodell at

Photo: Top Row (Left to Right): Rhys Love, Freeport, Michael Sherman, Davis, Shirley Hounnou, Freeport, Pictured in Bottom Row (Left to Right): Dezi Brooks, Freeport, and Forensics Coach Harry Bodell.