Student Speaker Bureau, Howard Payne University’s competitive speech and debate team, completed their spring tournament schedule in March.
The Student Speaker Bureau (SSB) competed in two tournaments during the spring semester: The Sweetheart Swing at Oklahoma University in Norman and the National Christian College Forensics Association tournament held at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark.
The team had a strong showing in debate at both tournaments. The open division team of Marcos Corley, a sophomore criminal justice major from Corpus Christi, and Ben Palmer, a junior youth ministry and Academy of Freedom major from Van, advanced to quarterfinals at the Sweetheart Swing.
At nationals, the team of Katie Bonner, a sophomore political science and Academy major from Lytle, and Katie Mullaney, a junior English and Academy major, advanced to quarterfinals. Additionally, Mullaney won eighth place debate speaker award.
“I am extremely proud of all four of these students,” said Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the Department of Communication and SSB coach. “We debate against the some of the best teams in the nation and we consistently hold our own.”
Dr. Welker added that the SSB competes against teams from schools that travel to a tournament every other weekend and are more seasoned in terms of competition.
“Our students have been able to step in and succeed even though we have travelled and competed much less than other teams this year,” she said. “This has been a growing semester for us. We have a smaller team than usual and have no graduating seniors, but on the flip side that is exciting in terms of next year’s season.”
Other students who competed in both debate and individual events this spring were Kaleigh Tankersley, a sophomore communication studies major from Iraan, and Dorie Walton, a sophomore communication studies and theatre major from Lolita. Kim Bryant, associate professor of communication, helps coach the team.
At the national tournament, Dr. Welker was re-elected treasurer for another two-year term for the National Christian College Forensics Association.
“I’m looking forward to next year’s season,” she said. “We have some great recruits and are already preparing for next year.”