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Vol State Debate Team Wins National Championships

By Gloria Cortes

The Volunteer State Community College Speech and Debate team won the Novice National Parliamentary Debate Tournament, and its members placed in the top three for other individual events, that took place from March 8-10 at Bowling Green State University.

The Debate team was comprised of Elijah Avery, sophomore, and Danielle Salvato, freshman.

In Individual Events, Avery “won second place in Debate, second place in Impromptu Sales, third place in Impromptu Speaking, and third place in Pentathlon,” according to a press release from Dr. Karen Johnson, Director of Forensics and advisor of the Speech and Debate team.

“Upon joining the Vol State Speech and Debate team last semester, I never thought that winning a national tournament would be in my future. I’m incredibly ecstatic for not only earning a national title, but being able to do so with talented and passionate teammates and a fantastic coach whom without this would not have been possible to achieve,” said Avery.

Even with his success, Avery said the biggest challenge at this co mpetition was the “higher caliber of competitors.”

Also in Individual Events, freshman Autumn Howard placed sixth in Persuasive Speaking.

“It is a great honor to win this championship. I am thankful for the continued support of Dr. Tonya Daniels, Dean of the Humanities Division, Dr. Melva Black, Chair of the Department of Communication, as well as the faculty of the Humanities Division who have assisted in recruiting efforts over the past year. We are also thankful for the financial support of Student Engagement for without their assistance, we would not be able to compete in this national tournament,” said Johnson.

According to the press release from Johnson, “Nine teams and five schools competed in the debate while sixteen schools competed in the Individual Events competition. The Vol State team competed against over 200 other novice students.”

Only novice, first-year competitive collegiate students were permitted in this competition.

“This win has probably thrown their stats up. They might get noticed more now, and upcoming freshman might get into it, knowing that they won,” said Vol State sophomore Makayla Kalamon.

Johnson confirmed this, saying “several four-year institutions have extended audition opportunities on the Speech and Debate team to audition for scholarships in speech and debate at their institutions.”

Avery said he recommends that students should join the program as it helps develop public speaking skills and it helps students become knowledgeable of modern topics.

Johnson also said that, “for the debate team, I’m looking for students who enjoy learning about current events, who are well-versed in national and international policy, who enjoy the debate of various topics…. For the individual events, I’m looking for students who are into drama and acting, as well as reading, and interpreting those pieces by demonstrating that particular story or character in front of a judge.”

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