The National Christian Forensics and Communications Association began in 1997 as the HSLDA Debate League with the goal of training up Christian home school students to learn the skills necessary to reach their world with God’s truth. In the following decades, NCFCA has grown and developed with regard to systems and programs, but the core focus of our mission has not shifted. Ultimately, we are about making a real difference in the real world, teaching students to “address life issues from a biblical worldview in a manner that glorifies God.”
Establishment - 1997
Michael Farris and Christy Farris began to discuss the idea of holding a debate tournament for home schooled high schoolers. Under the sponsorship of the Home School Legal Defense Association, they planned the first ever National Speech and Debate Tournament to happen in the Spring. Spreading the word and offering encouragement and direction, they helped others to hold debate tournaments which would "qualify" the winners to come participate in the National Tournament scheduled for fall, 1997. The first resolution for home school debate was "Resolved: That the United States should change its rules governing foreign military intervention" and sixteen home school high school teams from eight states and one Canadian province gathered in northern Virginia to participate in the first annual National Home School Debate Tournament in Purcellville, VA.
The final teams flew to Boston for the championship debate, one of the highlights at the National Christian Home Educators Leadership Conference. It was held during the Saturday luncheon in front of 400 home school leaders from 44 states. Winning the entire tournament was the TX team of Katie Ellis and Sarah Palacios.
During the 1999-2000 season, with the help of Teresa Moon, HSLDA adds Lincoln Douglas Debate, along with several speaking events (Duo Interpretation, Humorous Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, Impromptu and Original Oratory) to the program, resulting in a complete set of forensics activities.
With HSLDA debate experiencing exponential growth, it was clearly time to spin off home school forensics into an organization that could focus 100% of its energies on serving the national speech and debate community, and thus NCFCA was created with the blessing of HSLDA to carry on the vision of supporting home schoolers learning to address life issues from a biblical worldview, and to do so in a manner that glorifies God. HSLDA provides some initial funding to help the organization get established and NCFCA begins the process of aquiring its 501(c)3 status as a non-profit corporation. The new Board of Directors includes founder Christy Farris Shipe and five Regional Coordinators. Standing Debate and Individual Event Committees are also implemented. The first President of the Board of Directors, Todd Cooper, is elected but steps down shortly afterwards due to personal reasons. Terry Stoller is elected as the Second President of the Board of Directors.
Mike Larimer is elected NCFCA's third President and The Board of Directors determines to structure the league with member families and develops Affilation privileges.
NCFCA receives tax-exempt status from the IRS and adds State Representatives to the overall leadership structure. The National Championship is held in Murfreesboro, TN and includes Coach Workshops for the first time.
The National Championship is held at Cedarville University, Ohio and Script Submissions for IE events are required for the first time at a National Tournament. NCFCA also introduced Impromptu Apologetics as a Wildcard event and began to offer an HSLDA Membership Discount. In the first ever in-person Board meeting outside of a National Tournament, the Board determines to adjust bylaws to accommodate for Regional Coordinators to be able to serve without the added responsibility of being part of the Board of Directors.
At the National Tournament, Board President Mike Larimer shares with the NCFCA leadership the Board's plan to accommodate the incredible growth of the league. Regional boundaries will be redrawn to accommodate ten regions and the proposal of a regional qualification system is explained. General expectation is that it will take up to three seasons to fully implement this system throughout the country, and incentives were offered to those regions that would agree to be instrumental in architecting a plan to that end. Also in 2004, Impromptu Apologetics is retained as a regular event and renamed Apologetics.
The first National Open Tournaments are held in CA and CO as part of the new Qualification system and NCFCA's Judge Philosophy and Vision of Forensics are published.
NCFCA Celebrates their 10th anniversary by holding the National Championship at Patrick Henry College.
Regional Model System of qualification is fully implemented and the At-Large program introduced as part of the Qualification system. NCFCA also develops and releases standard Judge Orientation slides to increase fairness and a level playing field across the country with respect to what judges are asked to evaluate during the competition round. During the fall Christy Shipe steps down from her role as Vice-President of the Board of Directors to better serve her family's needs.
Script Submission forms are required at all levels of NCFCA tournament structure.
NCFCA adjusts regional boundaries, establishes an Advisory Board, and publishes an official NCFCA debate online sourcebook, The Source.
After serving as NCFCA President for 8 years, Mike Larimer resigns from the Board of Directors due to a job-related move outside the United States. As President, Mike’s leadership was powerfully used by God to bring the NCFCA from a fledgling organization to a well-developed system of competition that focused on excellence in communication training. Teresa Hudson is elected the 4th President of NCFCA.
NCFCA institutes a Day of Prayer specifically set aside to pray for the needs and impact of the league.
A year of firsts, NCFCA launches its official Facebook and Twitter pages, holds its first ever live broadcast of the NCFCA National Championship Awards Ceremony, and kicks off its first Essay Contest. NCFCA also begins offering LexisNexis as an Affiliate benefit to aid students in doing top-level research.
The First Ever Showcase of Excellence takes place at the National Championship, and NCFCA's first ever Short Film Contest is launched.
The NCFCA North Carolina National Open is NCFCA's largest tournament to date and draws the attention of World Radio.
Biblical Presentation, a new and unique interpretative speech event, further promotes the Christian mission of the league. This event creatively presents one or two selections of Scripture in an effort to foster understanding of God’s Word, deepen the speaker’s Christian faith, and encourage and inspire the audience.
NCFCA is the first league to offer Moot Court to high school students throughout an entire competition season. This groundbreaking move provides the opportunity for competitors to expand their understanding of the US Constitution and judicial system while exercising and developing research and critical thinking skills in order to persuasively and respectfully converse with others regarding their position.
The Board of Directors redefines the role of the President. Kim Cromer accepts the invitation to serve as the new Executive Director, becoming the 5th leader of the league. Prior to this position, Kim served as Regional Director for 4 years and Director of Forensics for 3 years.