Up to 200 high school students are expected to compete in the Bear Claw Invitational, a debate-communications skills competition planned for Feb. 8-9 at the University of Central Arkansas, according to a news release. Officials expect about 10 schools, mainly from Central Arkansas and the Arkansas River Valley to attend. Deadline for schools to register to participate is this Friday, said Anthony McMullen, director of the UCA Forensics Program.

In a news release, McMullen said the tournament will benefit the community, students and UCA.

"It is a good outreach for the campus and a good opportunity to give back to the community," he said.

The tournament is one of many qualifying events for the Arkansas Communication and Theater Arts Association (ACTAA). The competition will have several individual events that will challenge students’ communication skills, said Jim Hikins, chair of UCA’s Department of Communication. The tournament also gives high school students the opportunity to see the campus, he said in the release.

UCA has had a long tradition of debate and forensics, according to the release. After a lull of a few years, the activity is once again growing. Hinkins said that with the revival of debate at UCA, it made sense to bring a high school tournament to campus.

The event is free and will take place throughout the campus, with headquarters at McCastlain Hall. Registration for students is at 3:30 p.m. Friday with events scheduled throughout the evening, starting at 4 p.m. Saturday’s competition will begin at 8 a.m.

For more information, contact McMullen at 852-0695 or amcmullen@uca.edu.