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HPU student named national debate champion

ssb riverside for webBROWNWOOD – March 25, 2014 – Jaclyn Bonner, a Howard Payne University freshman and student debater from Lytle, was named a national champion during the National Christian College Forensics Association tournament held at California Baptist University in Riverside. HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau, a speech and debate team, competed in the tournament over Spring Break. Bonner was awarded 1st place and a national champion title in Novice Informative Speaking.

Additionally, Andres Zambrano, a sophomore from Brownwood, was the first student to advance to a finals round in International Public Debate Association (IPDA) debate. He competed in the bronze round.

“This was our first tournament to compete in IPDA debate, one of the fastest-growing styles of debate in the U.S.,” said Dr. Julie Welker, head of the communication department and Student Speaker Bureau coach. “To have two first-year competitors receive awards is outstanding.”

Jared Russell, a senior from Hillsboro, was named a Recognized Debater in IPDA debate, while Adam Jones, a sophomore from Irving, received 3rd place in Novice Impromptu Speaking and was named 9th Top Novice National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) speaker. Meg Eakin, a freshman from Plano, was also in the top 20 novice NPDA speakers.

Other competitors included Marcos Corley, a junior from Corpus Christi; Catherine Mullaney, a senior from Boylston, Mass.; Ben Palmer, a senior from Brownwood; and Adrianna Perez, a junior from Rowlett. Kim Bryant, associate professor of communication, also helps coach the team.

Almost 30 institutions affiliated with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities – and more than 300 competitors – were represented at the tournament.

“We had an outstanding year for HPU speech and debate,” Dr. Welker said. “The results at this national tournament just confirm what a great team we have. I’m so proud of each of our competitors.”


Photo cutline: HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau recently traveled to the National Christian College Forensics Association tournament at California Baptist University in Riverside. From left are: Kim Bryant, Andres Zambrano, Jared Russell, Katie Mullaney, Adrianna Perez, Jaclyn Bonner, Meg Eakin, Ben Palmer, Adam Jones, Marcos Corley and Dr. Julie Welker.