Cameron’s Sweetheart Swing Tournament: SPEECH & DEBATE

Cameron’s Sweetheart Swing Tournament: SPEECH & DEBATE

By Brittney Payette

Managing Editor

On Feb. 10 and 11, in the Academic Commons and Nance Boyer Cameron’s Forensic team hosted a Speech and Debate Tournament called the Sweetheart Swing.

Instructor and Director of Forensics Katie Stringer has been running the tournament for six years and has been the coach of the Cameron Speech and Debate team for four years.

“Being a part of the team teaches you more skills than I can even list,” Stringer said. “Some include, relationship building, professionalism, time management, organization, competition skills, learning how to present yourself, learning how to speak up and have your voice heard, public speaking, networking and so much more.”

She also said that there is a lot of hard work that goes into hosting a Speech and Debate tournament, including things that people can see including prepared ballots, awards and signs.

“When preparing for hosting a tournament there are many sections you have to think about; the online set up, the tournament software set up, getting the campus ready, getting the team ready, running things day of, and the aftermath or cleanup and paperwork,” Stringer said. “However, many people don’t think of the 1 a.m. emails and texts from judges and coaches, the time it takes to input all of the information into the software to run the tournament, or the time it takes to practice and prepare your students to be okay on their own while you run the event. I would argue that what people see on the surface of a tournament is not even a 1/8th of the work that goes into it.”

Freshman Allied Health major Inez Brumfield joined the Forensics team in Fall 2022, and this tournament was her first experience with an in-person Speech and Debate team because her other tournaments were virtual.

“I always had an interest in it in high school,” Brumfield said. “But I was too scared to do it, and Katie was super welcoming and open.”

Brumfield said Stringer helped her feel confident enough to join the Speech and Debate team and taught her that it is okay to mess up.

“Debate is creating the arguments,” Brumfield said. “That’s really in every single event. The debate, where you create the arguments and formulate your game plan.”

She also said she has learned a lot about communication from being on the forensics team.

“Talking in a specific manner, that’s more professional,” Braumfield said. “Formulating thoughts really, really quickly.”

Brumfield said this tournament was a lot of fun.

“It was my first in-person tournament,” she said. “I think that the way it was ran was perfect, the competition was great, everyone was so sweet. I think this tournament was a great first introduction to the in-person speech and debate world.”

Brumfield said she enjoyed meeting the speech and debate community face-to-face.

“In-person has a certain flair to it,” she said. “You can play off your competitor a little bit better.”

Additionally, Brumfield said that the team likes to joke around with each other, and it is not as serious as people may think. She also said she would love seeing more people join the team.

“If they have any inkling,” she said. “if they like talking, they should probably come and check it out. You can do anything with speech and debate.”

Stringer said she would also love for more people to join the team.

“If someone would like to join the team, I encourage them to reach out to me and come sit in on a practice, really get a feel for (the) team and what it has in store,” Stringer said. “I would be happy to speak with anyone wanting or thinking about joining! There are a lot of benefits to joining, a few would be getting to travel, networking, a place to feel like you belong and can be yourself, scholarships, room waivers, growing your communication and public speaking skills, a place to express yourself, and so much more.”

For more information, contact Stringer at or stop by her office in the Academic Commons room 122.

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