HPU students shine at Bayou City Swing Speech and Debate Tournament

BROWNWOOD – November 18, 2019 – HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau speech and debate team recently competed at the Bayou City Swing Speech and Debate Tournament, held at Lone Star College in Houston. Lucy Manning, junior strategic communication, social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Fort Worth, won top debate speaker and advanced to finals in International Public Debate (IPDA).

Freshman Devin Schurman, strategic communication, social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from San Antonio, was the third place debate speaker at the tournament and was a quarterfinalist in IPDA debate.

Dr. Julie Welker, professor of communication and chair of the Department of Communication, coaches the team.

“This team has been working very hard on debate structure and solid oral argumentation,” said Dr. Welker. “Each round is a different topic, so our students must be well-versed on both domestic and foreign affairs. In the debate styles we compete in, we do not use pre-prepared arguments, so students must think quickly on their feet and have a broad-based knowledge on many topics.”

The parliamentary debate team of Schurman and Rishona Raub, freshman strategic communication, social work, and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Celina, were semi-finalists.

“I’m very proud of Devin and Rishona’s efforts at this tournament,” said Dr. Welker. “They were up against very tough competition from schools much larger than HPU. It’s always impressive when a freshman team advances to semis.”

Due to the team’s excellent debate rankings, HPU won second place overall debate sweepstakes at the tournament.

In individual event competition, sophomore Alek Mendoza, theatre major from Bangs, won third place in program oral interpretation and fifth place in dramatic interpretation.

“Alek has competed very well this year,” said Dr. Welker. “In just his second year of collegiate competition, he has placed at all of our tournaments this fall, ranking high against some of the top competitors in the nation. He is putting in the work required to compete at this level, and it shows.”

HPU competed against colleges and universities from Texas and Mississippi.

Other students who competed at the tournament were Madison Neal, senior strategic communication major from Chandler, and Esmeralda Maldonado, senior strategic communication major from Whitney.

###

Cutline: HPU’s SSB speech and debate team is pictured holding awards received at the Bayou City Swing Speech and Debate Tournament. From left to right are Devin Schurman, Rishona Raub, Lucy Manning, Madison Neal, Esmerelda Maldonado and Alek Mendoza.