by Matt Crutchfield, senior staff writer
The Bryan College Debate Team recently added two trophies to its collection, winning two awards at the third annual Northeast State Spring Debate Tournament April 5 at Northeast State Community College in Blountville, Tenn. Members of the BC Debate Team won the first-place team award as well as the second-place individual speaker award.
Freshman Susan Wright, junior Jandi Heagen, junior Tori Stewart, alum Lawrence LaPlue, sophomore Justus Stout and sophomore Olivia Smith after the Northeast State Spring Debate Tournament. Photo submitted by Justus Stout.
The champion team consisted of sophomores Justus Stout and Olivia Smith. Stout was also named the second-place individual speaker.
Captain of the debate team, junior Tori Stewart, described the parliamentary debate style of the Blountville tournament as a limited preparation debate with an emphasis on rhetoric-based communication.The debate teams, each consisting of two debaters, were given a topic and allowed 15 minutes to prepare their argument. Once the debate round began, the two teams participated in a back-and-forth debate over the given topic. Stewart says the topics usually involve current social and political events.
Scoring for the tournament was point-based. Points were awarded to the team as well as the individual speakers, and the team with the most speaking points at the end of the round won. Stout and Smith were the only team in the tournament to go undefeated through all three rounds. This not only clinched the team victory, but also paved the way for Stout’s individual award.
Stout says the personal victory has contributed to his confidence as a debater.
“Getting the second-place speaker prize was a sign that I was making progress,” Stout says.
However, victory at the tournament was more than just a confidence boost. For Stout and Smith, it is yet another experience on the road to the future.
“We are both looking into law school as a possibility in the future, and this win acts as a confirmation that maybe we really are good at that kind of thing,” Stout says.
Smith attributes their success to practice and experience.
“The more you practice, the better you get. The more you debate, the more you learn,” Smith says.
Joining the BC Debate Team
Participation in the debate team is something that both Stout and Smith support and appreciate. Smith is convinced that the benefits of involvement outweigh the commitment required and encourages her fellow students to consider joining the team.
“Debate offers a lot of skills that are practical for life. It helps you think critically, think quickly and express ideas verbally,” Smith says.
Stewart reaffirms this idea and offers an open invitation to all students at Bryan College. She assures her fellow students that a lack of experience and knowledge should not keep one from signing up.
“We are open to teaching anyone willing to learn,” Stewart says.
Participation in the debate team involves four meetings each week and several tournaments each semester. Full involvement is encouraged but not demanded. Because the debate team is directly sponsored by the college, all expenses resulting from the tournaments are covered.
Those interested in more information can email the debate team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.