State Fair Community College’s newly formed Speech and Debate team competed in its first ever C. Preston Thomas Study Break and Gateway Swing Tournament at Webster University in St. Louis Dec. 4-5.

SFCC students who competed were sophomore Allyson Sampson of Quincy, Illinois, and freshman Joshua Kofahl of Jefferson City. SFCC Communications Instructor and Head Coach Kaila Todd accompanied the students.

The tournament followed the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) format that is a two-on-two limited preparation format of debate. Students are given a new topic each round and have 15 minutes to prepare their case for that round.

As a team, Kofahl and Sampson were named tournament champions in the NDPA Novice Division. Sampson placed 10th in individual speaker NDPA debate. Kofahl placed first in individual speaker NDPA debate, fifth place and Top Novice in impromptu speaking, and fifth place in extemporaneous speaking. Overall, the SFCC Speech and Debate team placed third in Debate Sweepstakes that is based on the combined points of the top four teams of each school. Nine colleges and universities, some bringing multiple teams, participated in this competition.

Additionally, the tournament presents special awards for the top three judges at the tournament. The students vote for the judges based on in-round feedback and helpfulness they receive from judges during the competition. Coach Todd served as a judge and received the third place Critic Award. She competed for University of Central Missouri’s (UCM) Speech and Debate team from 2013 to 2016 and was a graduate assistant coach at UCM from 2016 to 2018. This is Todd’s debut as a speech and debate coach.

“While we saw competitive success this weekend, what I am most proud of is the work ethic and teamwork that our students have put in over the last two months,” said Todd. “The college speech and debate competitive season begins September 1 each year, but we didn’t start recruiting for our team until the end of September. While this late start could have been demoralizing, this group took on the challenge head first. They have put in hours of extra coaching and practice to catch up to the competition. I am excited to see where their hard work will lead us next semester and beyond!”

The team’s next competition will be the Gorlok Gala hosted by Webster University the last weekend in January. To learn more about SFCC’s Speech and Debate team, contact Todd at (660) 596-7246 or or Sarah Nail, SFCC Communications instructor, at


In the photo: State Fair Community College’s newly formed Speech and Debate team participated in its first ever competition Dec. 4-5 at Webster University in St. Louis. SFCC students Allyson Sampson (left) and Joshua Kofahl were named team tournament champions in the NDPA Novice Division and received individual awards as well.  


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