Collegiate High School at NWFSC29th Season

Collegiate High Senior Named Forensics Student of the Month


Collegiate High School senior Taegan Dennis has had quite a year as an integral part of the Northwest Florida State College forensics team. In February, she and her teammates shined at the Florida College System Activities Association state forensics tournament. Now, she has been named an FCSAA Forensics Student of the Month.


Taegan, of Fort Walton Beach, was nominated for the honor by NWF State College forensics coach Cecil Scalf, who had this to say about her:

"As a member of the Northwest Florida State College forensics team, Taegan has competed in speech and debate tournaments the last two school years. Taegan is equally competitive giving platform speeches or debating the issues. All her teammates look to her to set the standards for speech and debate development. Because of her hard work and natural leadership skills, she has been the forensics team captain for the past year. Taegan is mature beyond her years. Her basic competence, intelligence and communication abilities make her a natural leader."

Taegan and teammate Brockton Higgins were state champions in Parliamentary Debate at the FCSAA tournament in February. In addition, Taegan had the highest speaker points among all parliamentary debaters, and also finished first in Persuasive Speaking and second in Impromptu Speaking. Earlier in the season, Taegan distinguished herself by earning fourth place in Top Speaker awards at the prestigious Star Invitational in Jacksonville, which included students from not only other state colleges but also universities such as Florida State, Florida and Texas Southern.

Not bad for someone who says she just "decided to take a crack at it" when she joined the forensics team as a junior at CHS, following in the footsteps of her mom, who also competed in forensics in high school.

It's safe to say Taegan is good at thinking on her feet. In Parliamentary Debate, contestants are assigned an issue and given just 15 minutes to build a case to argue. In Impromptu Speaking, contestants are given a topic and have seven minutes total to prepare and then speak. Considering that to place highly you have to devote five to six minutes of your seven minutes to actually speaking, that leaves a mere minute and a half or so to think about what you're going to say.

After she graduates from Collegiate High School and NWF State College in May, Taegan plans to attend Florida State University and earn a double major in Environmental Sciences and Spanish, with the goal to pursue a career in formulating agricultural policy in Latin America.

Given the time commitment her future college work will demand, Taegan does not plan to compete in forensics at FSU, but appreciates the experiences and opportunities she has had while a member of the NWF State College forensics team.

"I'm glad and grateful for all that I've gotten from forensics," she said.

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