Cameron University’s Speech and Debate team’s took first in Overall Sweepstakes Nov. 10, at the Rowdy Aggie Classic hosted at Texas A&M University.
The team underwent a change at the beginning of the semester when Sarah Collins, a Cameron alumna, became the new Director of Forensics. Collins took over after Dr. Daniel Schabot, the former coach, took an Instructor position at Lower Colombia College in Washington over the summer.
Collins was a member of Cameron’s forensics team as a student, winning Phi Kappa Delta Nationals in Open Parliamentary Debate in 2005. She was also one of only nine All-Americans in the nation that year.
Collins said she was nervous about the transition, but that the team had helped her to make it to go much smoother than she had anticipated.
“I feel very good about the progress that they’ve made, especially with the new members, with their willingness to try new things,” Collins said. “It’s been great. The environment that the returning members have created for them, I think it’s been really good.”
Cameron’s team currently boasts of 10 members, with half being newly introduced to the activity this semester.
Steven Haber, Daphne Orebaugh, Kynzie Pierce, Bola Adams and Brooke Cochran all joined the team this fall.
The team traveled to four tournaments this semester, consistently placing at all four.
Sophomore Communication major Zakariya Rajpari and Junior Communication major Skylar Williams enjoyed a successful semester in National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) debate, breaking consistently as a pair. They finished strong by taking first place at the Rowdy Aggie Classic.
Williams said his sights were set on building up the team for future success.
“Because of how young we are in terms of talent, we’re forced to focus more on the whole – the good of the team, sweeps points, winning tournaments, getting awards for Cameron – and less on individual and successive focus on events that we want to.”
In addition to meeting the requirements for receiving the Chapter of Merit award, Chi Eta Sigma invites students to present their scholarly work, read from their creative writing, and speak about their study abroad and conference experiences during coffeehouse meetings.
Dr. Kinslow said these activities not only align with the values that Phi Kappa Phi espouses, but such work also encourages more people to engage in the life of the mind. She also said she finds fellowship and support among her peers and colleagues in the honor society.
“The faculty members who are involved in Phi Kappa Phi are the ones I also go to talk about things that are interesting in our field or in their field,” Dr. Kinslow said. “Invariably, they are the people who serve as good examples for those who are interested in sustaining intellectual curiosity and intellectual inquiry.”
With these contributions, Dr. Kinslow said she thinks the CU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi can renew fervor for such academic pursuits and leave a lasting impact.
“The motto of Phi Kappa Phi is ‘let the love of learning rule humanity,’” Dr. Kinslow said. “If everyone really did that, it would be a wonderful thing.”
with each other and being able to take a problem or a set of problems and dividing the work amounts ourselves that would be best suited toward our individual strengths,” O’Doherty said. “In fact, afterward we found out that we had completely overlooked the easiest problem that everyone else jumped on and solved first.”
However, O’Doherty said he hopes their performance at this competition this year encourages other students here to participate with him when he enters the programming contest next year.
“I think it would raise the bar in terms of students’ expectations and what they want for themselves,” O’Doherty said. “That, and I would like to have some good team members for next year.”
“We’re all doing a little bit more work, but it’s all for the good of the team. The work we’re putting in this year is giving us some good potential for the years to come.”
The team concluded the semester by hosting their annual Christmas Classic tournament on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
Williams said despite the difficulties that come with transitioning to new leadership, Collins had proven herself to be a hard-working coach.
“At the end of the day, Sarah is a fantastic coach who works really hard to make sure the team has what it needs to be successful,” Williams said.
Junior Communication major and Phi Kappa Delta Representative Cameron Brewer agreed with William’s assessment.
“I would say that my measure of a good coach is my willingness to default to the decision making when it comes my performance,” Brewer said. “I would say that when Sarah makes a decision, I generally believe it is the same decision I would make. I feel very confident in her decision making.”