The University of Lynchburg Debate and Forensics club claimed several awards in a tournament January 29-30.
All three of LC’s debate duos made it to their final round of competition, and three students won trophies for presentations in individual events at the Collegiate Forensic Association winter tournament Charleston, S.C. They competed against about 200 students from colleges in the east coast region.
“The most amazing part of the tournament was seeing some of my teammates work so hard on their pieces and watching it pay off,” said Sami Topping ’19, one of the victorious team members.
Students in debate and forensics tournaments compete in public speaking, dramatic interpretation, poetry recitation, debate, and other presentations. Debates in last weekend’s tournament touched on topics such as whether England should ban Donald Trump from travel to the country and whether the zika virus poses a threat to the U.S.
A strong performance depends on knowledge of issues in addition to the ability to formulate and defend arguments. “These competitors have to be very well versed in current events to do well in any of these,” said Dr. Paula Youra, club advisor and coach.
The LC club formed during the 2014-2015 school year and never participated in a tournament until last November. Even at that first event, they brought home several prizes.
Dr. Youra said the group has done well because of each student’s determination; they meet frequently to practice debate and speaking, but they also devote significant time as individuals to know issues inside and out.
“This particular group of students is also just an incredible team spirit,” Dr. Youra said. “They’re there for each other. They are helping each other to win as much as possible, even though they’re actually competing against each other in some cases.”
Out of the 30 students who participate in the debate and forensics club, seven attended the regional tournament. Sami took fifth place for prose and sixth place for poetry. Emily Yinger ’19 took sixth place for poetry and for declamation. Chelsea Fix ’19 earned fourth place in the single dramatic interpretation category.
Sami hopes the team’s early success sets the stage for the future. “There was a lot of fierce competition, and there is still so much we have to learn about debate and forensics,” she said. “Our team looks forward to that challenge and we are excited to see where this takes us.”