HPU student named national debate champion

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau recently traveled to the National Christian College Forensics Association tournament at California Baptist University in Riverside. From left are Kim Bryant, Andres Zambrano, Jared Russell, Katie Mullaney, Adrianna Perez, Jaclyn Bonner, Meg Eakin, Ben Palmer, Adam Jones, Marcos Corley and Dr. Julie Welker.

Jaclyn Bonner, a Howard Payne University freshman and student debater from Lytle, was named a national champion during the National Christian College Forensics Association tournament held at California Baptist University in Riverside. HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau, a speech and debate team, competed in the tournament over Spring Break. Bonner was awarded first place and a national champion title in Novice Informative Speaking.

Additionally, Andres Zambrano, a sophomore from Brownwood, was the first student to advance to a finals round in International Public Debate Association (IPDA) debate. He competed in the bronze round.

“This was our first tournament to compete in IPDA debate, one of the fastest-growing styles of debate in the U.S.,” said Dr. Julie Welker, head of the communication department and Student Speaker Bureau coach. “To have two first-year competitors receive awards is outstanding.”

Jared Russell, a senior from Hillsboro, was named a Recognized Debater in IPDA debate, while Adam Jones, a sophomore from Irving, received third place in Novice Impromptu Speaking and was named ninth Top Novice National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) speaker. Meg Eakin, a freshman from Plano, was also in the top 20 novice NPDA speakers.

Other competitors included Marcos Corley, a junior from Corpus Christi; Catherine Mullaney, a senior from Boylston, Mass.; Ben Palmer, a senior from Brownwood; and Adrianna Perez, a junior from Rowlett. Kim Bryant, associate professor of communication, also helps coach the team.

Almost 30 institutions affiliated with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities – and more than 300 competitors – were represented at the tournament.

“We had an outstanding year for HPU speech and debate,” Dr. Welker said. “The results at this national tournament just confirm what a great team we have. I’m so proud of each of our competitors.”