Sweetheart Swing: Speech and Debate Tournament

Sweetheart Swing: Speech and Debate Tournament

By: Brittney Payette

From Feb. 9-11 in the Academic Commons and Nance Boyer, Cameron’s Forensics team hosted their Sweetheart Swing Speech and Debate tournament.

Cameron’s Director of Forensics Katie Stringer and her speech and debate team did a lot to prepare for the tournament prior to its occurrence. 

“We’ve had to do a lot of things through the software in which we run tournaments, called Speechwire,” she said. “After preparing that, then you can go in and do things such as print your ballots for your judges, gather your judges, enter them in the system, prepare how you’re going to feed your judges and competitors.” 

Stringer said she felt really good about the tournament. 

“It’s going to be a wonderful experience,” she said. “We have, I believe, 12 schools currently coming and we have some big hitter schools that are very well known on the circuit coming all the way here to Oklahoma to come to this tournament, so that is a lovely experience.” 

Stringer said she really appreciated everyone who helped before, during and after the tournament. She also said she hopes that more people will give speech and debate a shot. 

“Even if they have no experience,” she said, “just come try it out. Come talk to us. Give us a chance to answer your questions and to get to know you and you to get to know us.” 

One member of Cameron’s speech and debate team is junior Political Science major Logan Edwards, who joined the team three years ago. 

“As soon as I heard about the program at Cameron, I decided to join,” he said. “I knew it was something that I could learn from and develop my speaking skills and public speaking confidence.” 

 Edwards said the team has helped him immensely by giving him an overall confidence boost, especially when speaking extemporaneously and publicly.

He said he has enjoyed a variety of experiences he has had while on the team.

“(I enjoyed) getting to travel and spend time with the friends that I have on the team,” Edwards said. “And getting coached by Katie has also been a blessing.”

One memorable tournament Edwards participated in took place last year. 

“I went to the state tournament,” he said. “ … it was an awesome experience. I’m very excited for this year’s state tournament, and I feel like it was an experience that I’ll certainly remember in my post-undergrad life.”

Freshman English Education major Liberty Drown said she has always been passionate about speech and debate. 

“I did it in high school for three years,” she said. “It’s just something I really enjoy to do … plus I’m a pretty confrontational person, so it’s pretty easy for me.”

Drown said she has learned a lot from being a part of the Forensics team at Cameron.

“I used to be a very insecure person,” she said. “Speech and debate kind of really, really helped me, like, you know, talk in front of people, be comfortable with who I am, basically just be unapologetically myself.”

She said she used to be terrified of talking in front of others, but now she is able to do it like it is nothing. She said that Stringer has been really helpful in teaching her how to not only speak, but act as well.

“I do poetry, so I’ve been learning how to go jump between characters,” she said. “Mine’s pretty serious, so I kind of have to learn how to be a bit more serious when I do my acting.” 

Drown said being a part of speech and debate allowed her to learn useful skills.

“You learn how to talk in front of people,” she said. “You learn how to argue respectfully, and it’s something that … if you’re insecure with how you look, or how you’re perceived, I think it’s something you definitely need to join because it opens your eyes.” 

She said she appreciates the opportunities speech and debate provides. 

“We’re going to Arizona for nationals and, you know, I probably would have never been to Arizona if it wasn’t for nationals,” Drown said. “It’s something that helps you be comfortable with who you are.”

Freshman Lanique Magee said she decided to join Cameron’s team because she previously participated in speech and debate in high school. 

“I really like the environment that speech and debate creates,” she said. “The people, they’re really nice.” 

Sophomore Computer Science major Aaliyah Hopson said she wanted to join the debate team because one of her favorite movies “The Great Debater” inspired her. 

She said she has gained a variety of skills from being on the team.

“I’ve learned so much … about how to research and I guess, the important things to pull out of research,” she said. “And, surprisingly, it’s helped me communicate with others better.” 

Hopson said she enjoys spending time with the other members of Cameron’s forensics team. 

“They’re so helpful,” she said. “This is my first time ever doing debate, so they’ve taught me a lot, and they’re so patient with me.”

Hopson said they have spent time practicing for future tournaments. 

“We’ve done little mock tournaments in our room,” she said. “We did one about cats and whether they were angels or not. That was fun. And, we go over a lot of, you know, our events that we have to do, and she’s (Stringer) just getting us very prepared by breaking everything down, (and) by letting us know how we can prepare.”

For more information about speech and debate, contact Stringer at kstringe@cameron.edu. 

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