BROWNWOOD – October 10, 2014 – Howard Payne University’s competitive speech and debate team, Student Speaker Bureau (SSB), began its 2014-2015 competition season in September.
The team first traveled to Texas State University to participate in practice British parliamentary (BP) debate rounds with the TSU team, followed by the Hill Country Swing individual events tournament.
“I’m really excited that we were able to have some practice debate rounds with the TSU team,” said Dr. Julie Welker, head of the communication department and SSB coach. “They are a highly competitive team and, since we only go to two BP tournaments a year, it was very beneficial to get in the extra practice.”
The team then traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to compete in the United States Air Force Academy and Colorado College Tournament.
“This tournament is such a great experience for our team,” said Dr. Welker. “We get to compete against universities from all over the United States, including teams from Yale and University of Alaska-Anchorage. These schools are considered some of the best in the U.S., so it’s a privilege to get to compete with them.”
According to Dr. Welker, of the four HPU teams that competed, two of the teams missed advancing to the quarterfinals round by just a few points.
“That is quite impressive,” she added.
During the trip to Colorado Springs, the team was able to take the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway up to the Pike’s Peak Summit.
Kaleigh Tankersley, senior from Iraan and team captain, said the tournament was a good experience and the trip to Pike’s Peak was wonderful.
“The SSB trip to Pike’s Peak was a great time for all of us to bond and to really get to know each other,” she said. “We also got to experience some of the most gorgeous landscapes in the world.”
Dr. Welker said she believes the students deserve to have some fun in exchange for all their hard work.
“The Pike’s Peak trip was just amazing,” she said. “The views were unbelievable, and the experience together as a team was special.”
The team also visited the United States Air Force Academy and the Garden of the Gods.
Braxton Clark, a freshman from Southlake, said that the trip was an overall good experience.
“Going to Colorado with the SSB team has brought us closer together and helped us learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which will help us as we proceed,” he said.
While the debate team was competing in Colorado, two freshmen team members attended the Newbie Novice individual events tournament at Tarrant County College. Luis Rodriguez Ortiz of Brownsville placed fifth in impromptu and extemporaneous speaking, and Brianna Cruz of San Angelo placed fifth in prose and poetry.
“These two freshmen, although late additions to the team, really showed up and competed well at this tournament,” said Dr. Welker. “I’m looking forward to seeing how they continue to grow this year.”
In addition to Clark, Cruz, Rodriguez Ortiz and Tankersley, members of HPU’s SSB include Marcos Corley, a senior from Corpus Christi; Meg Eakin, a sophomore from Plano; Adam Jones, a sophomore from Irving; Lauren Long, a freshman from Grand Junction, Colo.; Jared Russell, a senior from Hillsboro; and Dorie Walton, a junior from Lolita.
The team is preparing for two major upcoming tournaments – the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association fall championships in October and the Oxford IV International BP Tournament in November.
For more information about the Student Speaker Bureau, visit www.hputx.edu/ssb.
Photo cutline: HPU’s competitive speech and debate team, Student Speaker Bureau, recently began its competition season. Team members include, from left, Braxton Clark, Dorie Walton, Adam Jones, Meg Eakin, Marcos Corley, Kaleigh Tankersley, Jared Russell, Lauren Long and Dr. Julie Welker. Not pictured are Brianna Cruz and Luis Rodriguez Ortiz.