Speech & Debate Society Concludes Successful Season
The Covenant College Speech & Debate Society completed a successful season of competition at the recent National Christian College Forensics Association national tournament. After losing many team members who graduated in May 2015, the Speech & Debate Society spent the 2015-2016 season cultivating new members through practice and competition. The team competed in tournaments at the University of North Georgia, Berea College, Carson-Newman University, the American Enterprise Institute, and Point Loma Nazarene University.
Many freshmen joined the society with little or no background in public speaking. The College brought twelve students to the first tournament of the year and all but three were first-time debaters. In spite of a lack of experience, Covenant teams advanced to finals in both varsity and novice divisions at their very first tournament—Paul Broussard ’16 and Lauren MacDougall ’18 earned second place in varsity debate and John Swygard ’18 and Anna Katherine Clarke ’18 placed second in novice debate.
“The progress Covenant's team has made this year is our real success,” said debate coach Stephen McKerihan ’16. “In previous years, there were always several upperclassmen involved in helping create the club. The team has always achieved a lot with fewer resources than other schools in our league. This year was largely a building year for us, since we lost most of our experience with the graduation of seniors.”
The team finished the year at the National Christian College Forensics Association national tournament held at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA. In preparation for the tournament the team practiced every Wednesday and Thursday night, hosted their own practice tournament, and spent hours discussing ideas and potential topics. Their hard work paid off. Freshmen Tindol Pate ’19 and Caleb MacDonald ’19 were finalists in novice debate, Broussard and MacDougall advanced to quarter finals in varsity debate, and Pate was awarded eighth place novice speaker at the tournament.
“What we lacked in experience and resources we made up for in work ethic and fundamentals and we still won big,” said McKerihan. “Our success as a team isn’t usually flashy, but it is genuine.”