16th Gorlok Gala Marks 300th Debate Tournament for Scott Jensen

| January 28, 2014

The Webster University Forensic and Debate program hosted its 16th Gorlok Gala tournament the weekend of Jan. 24-26. An estimated 450 people from 44 schools representing 13 states attended the Gala, an annual comprehensive tournament offering multiple forms of debate, performance and speaking events. The tournament has become one of the largest and most prestigious in the country.

An estimated 450 people from 44 schools representing 13 states attended the Gorlok Gala Debate Tournament. Photo by Natasha Sykes.

An estimated 450 people from 44 schools representing 13 states attended the Gorlok Gala Debate Tournament. Photo by Emily Fry

“A number of students who compete at the Gorlok Gala will go on to finish among the elite at several national tournaments this spring,” noted Scott Jensen, professor and director of Forensics at Webster’s School of Communications, and director of the tournament. “A number of programs recognize our tournament as an important event to attend in order to prepare their students for the highly competitive post-season tournament schedule.”

Gina Jensen, assistant director of Forensics, and Tom Serfass, assistant Forensic coach also assisted in direction of the tournament. Additionally, several forensic educators and alumni from across the country served as guest tournament staff members.

The event ran from Friday through Sunday, with full days of competition on the Webster campus Friday and Saturday. Sunday’s final rounds are held at the Sheraton Westport Plaza hotel. An estimated 403 and a half hours of speaking, performing and debating took place throughout the weekend.

Gorlok Gala Awards
Hello Everyone! My name is Natasha. I am here in the UC helping out with the Gorlok Gala Debate Tournament. Behind me are the ballots for the 44 schools represented at this event today. #mywebsteru #gorlokgala

This week’s featured student on Webster’s student Instagram account was Natasha Sykes, who posted this photo to mywebsteru: “I am here in the UC helping out with the Gorlok Gala Debate Tournament. Behind me are the ballots for the 44 schools represented at this event today.”

Nearly 350 awards were presented to students who competed in 15 different events. Western Kentucky University won the overall sweepstakes championship. Cedarville University, Marshall University, Hillsdale College and Harper College each won other team competitions. The 44-school field included eight schools attending the Gorlok for the first time. A total of 108 colleges and universities have attended this tournament at some point during its 16-year history.

Community Support

The tournament also brings together individuals from the campus community and the forensic program’s alumni network. Typically 20 or more forensic alumni will involve themselves with this tournament as staff members, assistants in the planning process, and judges during the competition. A number of Webster students and staff also served as judges during the three-day event. “We could not host a tournament of this size without incredible community support,” said Scott Jensen. “Our alumni network is one of the best in the forensic community. And the Webster community always comes through with rooms, judging, and support for the tournament itself. We are blessed to have a community that supports us to such a great degree,” Jensen added.

Gorlok Gala Marks 300th Debate Tournament for Director Jensen
Scott Jensen

Scott Jensen

One other note for this year’s Gorlok Gala is the highlight it provided for its tournament director: the 2014 Gala was the 300th tournament that Scott Jensen has directed or assisted with directing in his 28+ year teaching career. “Scott has directed tournaments ranging in size from small high school events to large national events. Most of these tournaments are ones he is asked to help direct by hosts from other schools,” explained Gina Jensen.

Scott inaugurated the Gorlok in his first year at Webster. Gina observed, “Scott grew the Gorlok Gala to be one of the most important tournaments in the country. Three hundred tournaments is a testament to not only longevity but also dedication to service, and his reputation as one of our community’s best tournament administrators.”

Next Up for Webster’s Forensic and Debate Team

The team will host its annual Trivia Night on Saturday, March 1 before beginning their post-season on Valentine’s weekend when they travel to the University of Central Missouri for the Missouri state tournament. The team’s national tournament is March 20-23 at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

 

 

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Category: Alumni, St. Louis Campus News, Student Affairs and News

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  1. Debra Carpenter says:

    Dear Scott:
    300 Tournaments!!! Oh my!Congratulations on this outstanding contribution you have made over the years to your profession and your students. All have benefited from the extraordinary effort you put into the people of your life. Thanks!