Vol State’s new debate team will compete at Murray State

 

By Tayla Courage

An informational meeting was held Thursday, Jan. 18, for students interested in joining Volunteer State Community College’s Speech and Debate Team.

Vol State has had successful speech and debate teams in the past, but this will be the first organized intercollegiate team in quite some time, according to Dr. Karen Hill Johnson, a communication faculty member and director of speech and debate.

“We travel to other colleges across the United States in the fall and in the spring, and we compete in both IE events and parliamentary style debating,” said Johnson.

IE, which stands for individual events, is typically more performance-based; whereas parliamentary style debating, or partnered events, often involve limited preparation or extemporaneous speaking.

The number of events a student is interested in will determine the number of hours a student will need to devote to practicing.

Experience is not necessary to participate with the team, but students who have past experience with programs like DECA, FBLA and FFA or activities like theater are highly encouraged to get involved.

Michael Ketzner, a sophomore at Vol State, acknowledged the fear that many people associate with public speaking but urges anyone who is interested to consider joining the team.

Although the experience may be scary at first, communication skills will improve drastically students will get to be a part of an amazing community, said Ketzner.

Vol State is currently offering a three-hour course for students interested in competing collegiately.

Joey Matherley, a freshman at Vol State, expressed his excitement to have the opportunity to work with Johnson again.

“I took Dr. Johnson’s class in the fall and I loved it. So when she recommended this, I couldn’t say no,” said Matherley.

The speech and debate team’s first tournament is scheduled for Feb. 2-3 at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky.