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Beautiful Mountain View

Student Life Experiences

A student's life at Colorado College is filled with unique opportunities and  learning experiences. Here you'll find the stories of students who took a deeper step in their classes and pursuit of knowledge.

Julian Plaza Visits the Korea's Winter Championship National Forensic League

Inspiring, fulfilling and courageous are just a few words that come to mind when attempting to describe my experience at the National Forensic League of Korea's Winter Championship. Traveling on a 13 hour flight in order to deliver remarks at the awards ceremony and a debate workshop seemed a harrowing prospect; little did I know how impactful the speaking assignment would be.

Like so many adventures, mine started with a hiccup. With limited Korean language skills and no knowledge of Korean taxi culture, it took me two taxis and a U-turn back to the airport to reach the tournament site in Incheon. That's where it all started, Korean students from Elementary school through College lining up outside the row of auditoriums hosting the day's final rounds.

Starting the day judging four eleven year old girls debate the merits and disadvantages of sending propaganda balloons over the DMZ to promote defection is as adorable as it is impressive. Not only is English their second language, but their young minds had a breathtaking understanding of the social and political implications of the balloon practice. More impressively, four recently self liberated North Koreans debated the same subject to find out if intimate connection to the topic would sway the audience in ways that the native South Koreans had not. While the debate occurred in Korean, I was lucky enough to sit near the CEO of NFL Korea, Heidi Son, who diligently translated for myself and other American delegates.

During the debate, in a moment that can only be described as extremely profound, one of the North Korean students proclaimed: "If I had not received a balloon, I wouldn't be here, I would not know that here existed!" Scenes like this will move more than just the people interested in the power of the spoken word. This, I think, is a once and a lifetime moment that should not be, hopefully will not be, the only time in my life that get to witness the oppressed find their voice and use it to advocate for better. The courage that it takes to do what these students had done and say what they did is akin to nothing that I've ever witnessed, knowing that the exposure of their identities risked the wrath of Pyongyang through three generations of their family. By the time I needed to head back to CC, I was in awe of what I had experienced. It was inspiring to see the beauty and growth in those young girls. It was fulfilling to know that speech and debate makes a difference for everyone involved, no matter where people are from or what language they speak. This experience filled me with courage to speak my mind like the North Koreans spoke theirs.

- A proud steward of the tradition at CC, Julian Plaza

The Faulkner Trip

Students had the rare opportunity to learn about William Faulkner, American writer and Nobel Price laureate while retracing his steps in Oxford Mississippi. The Faulkner class saw where Faulkner lived, wrote, and where he passed away. They had the chance to visit his grave, learn about the different stages of his life, and follow his footsteps.

"Taking the Faulkner class in Oxford, Mississippi was a true Colorado College experience. It was inspiring to be able to discuss Faulkner's books in his house -- it almost felt like he was going to come downstairs and join our class! It was also incredible to be immersed in the Southern culture of Mississippi. It's one thing to read about a culture, but it's another thing to be immersed in it! It helped us understand where Faulkner was coming from and what he was writing about."

                                    - Madeline Scherer

"Faulkner has certainly become a highlight of my time at CC. I don't think Dean Edmonds knows how much I appreciate his generosity in facilitating this trip-- and Mississippi was quite a trip. I am continually enchanted by the South and its people, literature, and inscrutable traditions."

                                             - Lainie Formby

"This trip was an amazing experience that allowed me to delve farther into the intricate world that William Faulkner created in his Yoknapatawpha County. Through experiencing the climate, culture, and citizens of this Southern world, a stronger resonance was created between his stories and my understanding. All in all, this was an unforgettable trip that introduced me to a new world of both culture and literature."   

                       - John Griffin

Half Block

During the 2014 half block, students had the opportunity to take professional and career development courses at no charge. These courses included:

Public Speaking

GMAT, GRE, MCAT, and LSAT Preparation


Entrepreneurship Boot Camp

Careers in Health Care

An Etiquette Dinner

The Modern World of Work

A Fullbridge Finance Intensive

Networking Events

In a two week period, the opportunities provided students with valuable skills for post-graduate education and their future careers. Read more about half block non-credit offerings here. Keep an eye out for the 2015 half block!

Speech Team Success in European Trip

Colorado College's Speech Team has just completed a full season of competing in 15 different tournaments for the 2013-2014 season. Jacob Kirksey, a junior on the team, advanced to semi-finals in Extemporaneous Speaking, earning the rank of 7th best in America at the Pi Kappa Delta Honor Society's National Tournament. Additionally, he advanced to Quarter-finals in Impromptu Speaking and After-Dinner Speaking placing 13th overall and 21st overall respectively. This year’s event, in Indianapolis, was host to hundreds of participants and 80 different colleges and universities. At the American Forensics Association’s National Individual Events Tournament, an equally massive tournament with 82 colleges and universities.

Jacob continued his success and earned a top 25 ranking in Impromptu Speaking. With one year left, the College and Speech Team look forward to Kirksey’s continued success during the 2014-2015 season.Moreover, Kirksey and fellow Juniors Nick Blanchette, Joah Chun, and Walt Dubensky participated in an international debate hosted by the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, something CC Speech and Debate has not been involved in for 10 years."  

However, his success is not limited to competitive speech. Jacob pioneered the Kid’s Are Dramatic non-profit, which links CC student intern with local middle school students through drama and theatre. He was also an instrumental part of the collaboration that produced the Oral Communication Center, which provides peer tutors and professionals that address communications related academic needs among students, faculty and staff.