April 14, 2021
The University of Houston Forensic Program within the Division of Student Affairs does more than speech and debate. Under the leadership of Dr. Michael Fain, director of UH Forensics and advisor to the UH Forensic Society, this program extends its reach beyond the campus walls through outreach and volunteer initiatives at local high schools and community centers. Recently the Houston Chronicle featured an article on its front page about Courtney Williams, a homeless student who our UH Forensic Society (UHFS) met last August at the Star of Hope Mission.
Courtney and his family, including two younger siblings and his mother who is diabetic, have lived at the Star of Hope Family Transitional Center for the last four years – and his high school GPA was significantly affected by the four jobs he worked simultaneously in ninth grade in a vain attempt to keep his family’s home. UHFS has had an ongoing relationship with Courtney since meeting him last August – and has attempted to bring him on our campus for contests and meetings with UH administrators. He got to know the UHFS students, who volunteer in the shelter cafeteria and tagged along to tournaments.
Courtney, with peer support, hard work and faith, recently received his high school diploma and plans to continue on to college. The article states that when he attended the speech and debate tournaments, “he caught the eye of UH officials, who were so impressed that they offered Courtney a full scholarship.”
“Without question, our community involvement and benefits to Courtney’s life are the most important signs of winning our organization has experienced since the UH Forensic Society was begun in its current form in 2002,” Fain commented. UHFS continues to participate in community service efforts, and the program will celebrate ten years of serving lunch at The Star of Hope next month.