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HPU’s speech and debate team competes in first tournament of 2022-2023 season

BROWNWOOD – December 5, 2022 – Howard Payne University’s speech and debate team, Student Speaker Bureau, competed at its first tournament of the 2022-2023 season in October. Junior Landon Chenault, social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Denton, won the varsity division of individual International Public Debate Association (IPDA) debate. The HPU team was one of 28 universities from 11 different states competing at the Union University Debate Tournament.

Chenault also competed in team IPDA with debate partner Devin Schurman, a senior strategic communication, social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman honors major from San Antonio. The pair advanced to quarterfinals and both earned speaker awards in team IPDA. Schurman was named second place speaker and Chenault was named third place speaker.

Freshmen Katelyn Sims, strategic communication major from Cleburne, and Cora Raub, nursing major from Celina, also ranked in the top 10 speakers in team IPDA. Freshman Adrielle Sloan, strategic communication major from Blue Ridge, notched fourth place novice speaker.

“The team’s successes are result of their hard work,” shared Dr. Julie Welker, head of the Department of Communication and SSB coach. “This team has an exceptional work ethic. Besides our work during class, Devin, the team captain, leads debate practices in the evening. Both he and Landon are great examples for our new team members to look up to and learn from.”

Schurman said the team has been drilling on a weekly basis.

“During practice, we work on the basics of IPDA and then run rounds to help the novices get used to the format,” said Schurman. “This has been crucial in helping us compete at such a high level.”

He added that the new team members have also put in considerable effort, putting in hours outside of class to grow their skills. In his final year on the team, and as one of HPU’s top debaters, Schurman said his goal is to see HPU’s competitors ranked at the top at every tournament.

“This first tournament saw that happen with our members winning multiple speaker awards as well as with Landon winning the tournament,” Schurman added.

Dr. Welker added that the novices – three freshmen women – are some of the most dedicated debaters she has seen in her years of coaching.

“They are dialed in during every class and every practice,” she said. “They are already debating on a higher level than most first-time collegiate debaters. Their work is paying off, as all three did very well at our first tournament.”

The International Public Debate Association is one of the fastest growing interscholastic debate associations in the nation with competitive programs across the U.S. Its mission is to provide an opportunity for individuals to develop their advocacy skills in a forum that promotes appropriate and effective communication.


Cutline: HPU junior Landon Chenault won the varsity division of individual International Public Debate Association (IPDA) debate at the Union University Debate Tournament.