Southeastern University’s newly formed debate team recently qualified for the annual National Forensic Association’s national tournament, the largest Lincoln Douglas debate tournament in the nation. The tournament will take place from April 18-21 at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
The SEU Debate team recently won the tournament at UCF in Palm Bay, Fla. They competed against schools including Miami Dade, UCF, and Florida Gateway College. SEU Debate took home the top five speaker slots at the tournament, as well as first, second and third place.
In February the team won the Florida Intercollegiate Forensics Association (FIFA) State Championship in Cocoa Beach, Fla. A few of the schools in attendance were Florida State University, University of Florida, and Polk State College. SEU Debate took home the first, second, and third place individual awards, a total of 10 individual awards and three overall sweeps awards – in their first year of competition. SEU competed in both the Parliamentary Debate and the Lincoln Douglas Debate.
“I have been blown away by the caliber of students we have attracted in debate and highly impressed by their work ethic and discipline. I am so proud of each of our SEU Debaters and am excited for what the future holds for SEU Debate,” said Christina Gard, an assistant professor of human services.
SEU Debate was started by Gard and a student, Curran McQuade, who both expressed an interest in establishing a debate team at SEU. In the spring of 2013, they started developing the new team for the next academic school year.
“Our purpose in offering debate is to give students an opportunity to engage in both Parliamentary and Lincoln Douglas style debate, while learning and developing their critical thinking, communication, and persuasive speaking skills,” said Gard.
Their first practice was held in the fall of 2013. Currently, only five students qualified to participate in the debates, but additional students have attended the practices held. They competed in their first tournament in the fall of 2013 at the Star Invitational tournament in Jacksonville and placed 3rd. The FIFA championship was the second tournament they competed in.
“As I told the team, after our rounds were over, I'm very proud of all of them. They put in the hours and now they're reaping the results of that in the form of a State Championship title. I couldn't ask for a better team,” said Curran McQuade, the team president of SEU Debate.