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B-CU Wins at HBCU National Speech and Debate Tournament

Pictured from left to right:Dr. Bridgett Rahim-Williams, Ashlyn Denson, Terraka Streeter, Melnetra Williams, LaVencia Walker, and Dr. Claudette McFaddenDAYTONA BEACH, FL- Congratulations are in order for this year’s Thurgood Marshall Speech and Debate Society whose members traveled to compete in the second National HBCU Speech and Debate Tournament, held February 28 – March 3, 2019, on the campus of Tennessee State University.

(Pictured from left to right: Dr. Bridgett Rahim-Williams, Ashlyn Denson, Terraka Streeter, Melnetra Williams, LaVencia Walker, and Dr. Claudette McFadden)

Junior Ashlyn Denson, president of the Society, led the way as juniors Terreka Streeter, Melnetra Williams and LaVencia Walker brought back to campus a total of five national wins.

A Who’s Who of colleges and universities were present for this year’s speech and debate tournament, now in its second year. Marshall Society team members held their own as they competed against students from Hampton, Howard, Lawson State Community College, Morehouse, North Carolina A&T, Paul Quinn, Prairie View, Rust, Spelman, Tennessee State, Texas Southern, and Wiley.

Students competed in such categories as Impromptu Speaking, Informative Speaking, After-Dinner Speaking, Persuasive Speaking, Oral Interpretation of Poetry and Prose, Dramatic Interpretation, Dramatic Duo and Slam Poetry.

Over the course of the three-day tournament, students debated such topics as “Kamala Harris is a better candidate for president than Corey Booker,” “The current federal graduated income tax should be replaced with a flat tax,” “The CIA is worse than MS 13,” and “Pride is more dangerous than prejudice.” In addition to debating, B-CU students competed in the Persuasive and Informative Speaking categories. Both Denson and Walker also competed in Poetry Interpretation, using original works as well as such iconic pieces as For Colored Girls’ “Somebody Stole All My Stuff.”

The Marshall Society also brought home one of three Sweeps Trophies in recognition of overall success by a college or university with a limited number of competitors.

Funding for participation in the National HBCU Speech and Debate Tournament was provided by the National Science Foundation grant, Investigating the Effects of Socioscientific Argumentation Development on Student Academic Success. Dr. Hector Torres is the grant’s principal investigator and Dr. Claudette McFadden is one of its co-principal investigators. Dr. McFadden also serves as one of the five members of the Board of Directors for the National Speech and Debate Association, which is responsible for the creation of the National Speech and Debate League and the National Tournament.

Joining this year’s traveling student team were Dr. Claudette McFadden, Professor and Program Coordinator for Communication Studies and Dr. Julius John, Associate Professor and Director of Theatre from the Department of Communication Studies, Theatre and Dance. Also accompanying the team was Dr. Bridgett Rahim-Williams, who has served as the Co-Director of the Marshall Society since 2015 and whose most recent appointment was as Associate Dean in the School of Health Sciences. Rahim-Williams joined the team as principal coach during the tournament. All three faculty served as tournament judges.

The Society is grateful for the generous support, contributions and encouragement of Ms. Betsey Hardeman and the membership of B-CU’s Women’s Advisory Board; Alumnus Mr. Kelvin Mayner of All State Insurance; and the membership of Daytona’s Golden Oasis.

Society members continued to expose the university community to the merits of argumentation and debate at this year’s Academic Showcase held April 29 in the session, Speech, and Debate as Scientific Inquiry.

On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, at 7 p.m., the Society will present the Speech and Debate Showcase, “Talking Loud and Saying Something” in Gertrude Heyn Memorial Chapel at 7 p.m.

Students who are interested in applying for membership in the Marshall Society may contact Dr. Claudette McFadden through her office which is located in room 241 of the McClaney Building, by phone, 386-481-2753, or her email mcfaddec@cookman.edu. Students may also contact the officers of the Marshall Society, President, Ms. Ashlyn Denson, First Vice-President, Ms. Sierra Perry, Second Vice President, Ms. Rennae Morgan, Secretary, Ms. Jordanna Anderson, and Treasurer, Ms. Melnetra Williams. Male students are especially encouraged to apply.

Interested faculty and/or staff are also welcome to become involved with the Society and are encouraged to contact Dr. McFadden. Your support is needed and will be genuinely appreciated.

Office of Communications

Joy Jones
Director of Communications
jonesjo@cookman.edu
PH: 386-481-2959

About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship, and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit www.cookman.edu

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