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Speech & Debate Society Concludes a Strong Season

Speech & Debate Society

The Covenant College Speech & Debate society ended its 2013-14 season during spring break at the National Christian College Forensics Invitational (NCCFI) in California. The members of the society put on suits, brushed up on their argumentation, and practiced thinking quickly on their feet.

“Participating in speech and debate has increased my ability to think critically on my feet and articulate my thoughts clearly and concisely,” said Ian Dovan ’14, president of the society. “These skills are some of the most beneficial abilities one can cultivate during the college years. In the lifelong game of communication, there's not a much better practice court than speech and debate.”


Although often recommended for future lawyers, Covenant’s Speech & Debate Society is open to all majors and seeks to equip students with skills applicable to all professions. From the ability to speak persuasively to thoughtful listening and the ability to think quickly on your feet, the society has continually attracted students across disciplines. 

“I appreciate that Covenant's debate team isn't just for people who want to be lawyers or politicians,” said Mackenzie Harmon ’17. “I have teammates who study everything from history to art to computer science, which gives us both a competitive advantage and the opportunity to learn from each other.”


This spring, the team traveled to Transylvania University to compete in both speech and parliamentary debate. Many team members advanced to final rounds in the tournament, taking home third and fourth place novice debate speaker awards, and second place novice impromptu speaker.


Later in the season at the Jackson-Purchase Swing tournament at Murray State, Covenant brought home awards for first, second, third, and fifth parliamentary speaker as well as the tournament championship for parliamentary debate, won by Stephen McKerihan ’15 and Paul Broussard ’16. 


“The intensity that comes from pitting oneself against intelligent and quick witted opponents can only be found in an organized debate setting,” said McKerihan. “The boundaries of my critical thinking, creativity and endurance are always pushed to their fullest during a debate. After hearing that my partner and I had won the final round at Murray State, I honestly almost cried. Debate is hard work, and when you finally see the fruits of that labor it is so rewarding.”


The society’s final tournament brought students out to California for the national invitation tournament of the National Christian College Forensics Association. With just a few competitors, the society earned a strong close to their season, taking home fourth and sixth place in novice extemporaneous speaking, fourth place novice debate speaker, and advancing to the quarter-finals in intermediate debate and octo-finals in the highest level of debate competition. 


“Debate has enriched both my analytical thinking skills and my speaking abilities,” said Scott Hoelsema ’15. “It has given me a framework for analyzing and critically evaluating arguments and ideas. The fellowship of the team is also a blessing. Sharing these experiences—successes, frustrations, laughter, and travel—with other members of the debate team has truly been a blessing in my three years of participating in debate at Covenant College.”