Catherine Mullaney is a recent graduate from Boylston, MA. She was an English major and a member of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy.
The Howard Payne University Speech and Debate Team – Student Speaker Bureau – is a group of students from all majors and disciplines at HPU who compete at intercollegiate speech and debate tournaments, host our own high school UIL speech and debate workshops, adjudicate elementary, middle and high school UIL tournaments, and emcee HPU and area public events. We are members of the National Christian College Forensics Association (NCCFA), the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association (TIFA), the American Forensics Association (AFA), the National Forensics Association (NFA), and the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA). The team also competes in World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) tournaments and the International Public Debate Association (IPDA). For more information on this program contact Dr. Julie Welker.
This spring, the Student Speaker Bureau (SSB) speech and debate team traveled to California to compete in the invitational tournament for the National Christian College Forensics Association (NCCFI). The team spent the first half of Spring Break at California Baptist University competing in a wide variety of events from two forms of debate to speeches ranging from prepared persuasive presentations to impromptu or limited preparation events. We also had an amazing time traveling to Disneyland together and sleeping on each other’s shoulders on plane rides.
Benjamin Palmer, my fellow team captain, and I led discussions during preparation time for NPDA (parliamentary) debate rounds. Each school team only gets 15 minutes to prepare for debating each topic presented to the debaters, whose sides have already been chosen for them by tournament officials. Debate prep is an exhilarating time filled with Google searches, frantic scribbling of notes, and occasional jokes about funding policy proposals with government cheese.
These times of preparation, and the debate rounds that follow, have been one of the most educational experiences of my time at Howard Payne. Not only do we learn about history and philosophy, we are able to apply these facts and concepts to events happening in the world today.
Many members of the team also competed in International Public Debate Association (IPDA) style debate, an individual event that SSB has never competed in before. Andres Zambrano, a freshman on the team this year, advanced to the bronze medal round. Jaclyn Bonner, also a
freshman, was named national novice informative speaking champion. Adam Jones, sophomore, received the third place award in extemporaneous speaking. Each of these nationally ranked students exemplifies the excellence that we strive for as a team.
After the successful tournament, the team headed to Disneyland for a day to wind down and spend time together following the last event of the year. We stood in many lines together, ate overpriced food, and met a cast of characters I can only imagine were actually exuberant actors sweating inside costumes with gigantic heads. Our experience at Disneyland is indicative of many times we’ve shared together as a team – fun, memorable, and incredibly exhausting. SSB has been an amazing blessing to me during my time at HPU; without
the guidance and support of Dr. Julie Welker and Professor Kim Bryant none of our successes or good times had on trips would have been possible. This team is a family and no matter how often it changes its makeup we remain close and have fun while working tirelessly to bring awards back to school and represent Howard Payne well. I’ll never forget the amazing experiences I have had as a member of SSB, including this unforgettable trip to California!
Photo cutlines, from top: Catherine Mullaney with teammate Marcos Corley.
Catherine, right, with Dr. Julie Welker and Kim Bryant.
Team picture outside the convention center where final rounds were held.
Team picture at dinner.
Marcos Corley inside a teacup at Disneyland.
Members of the SSB at the park entrance.