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Debate team places second in first competition

It has been more than 15 years since IU South Bend had a debate team. As part of the Communications and Art History area of the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts, this new team has shown success and great potential for the future. Team coach and communication arts lecturer, Julie Allee, prepared a six-member team to reach a second place finish at their first debate competition.

The IU South Bend debate team, consisting of Peter Farkas, Corey Gilmartin, Angela Alexy, Jacob Jones, Zion Caster, and Zainab Al-Sayegh, traveled to Ball State University for the 40th Annual Age of Aquarius Tournament. With 20 schools in attendance from Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, and Ohio, IU South Bend was awarded second place overall in Parliamentary Debate. “We rose to the occasion and surprised even ourselves,” said Gilmartin.

Among the school competing were IU Bloomington, Illinois State University, Ohio University, Butler University, Ferris State University, and many others. The IU South Bend team outscored IU Bloomington and IUPUI. “When they announced IU Bloomington as third in debate and then IU South Bend as second place, we were really surprised,” Jones said.

Along with winning rounds as a team, students are scored individually by judges awarding speaker points. These points put Caster in 11th place in the tournament, and Jones in 10th place. Al-Sayegh was awarded Top Novice in Programmed Oral Interpretation. “The team effort was really strong going in and our individual hard work coordinated to create an inspiration to ourselves and to the other competitors who had never even heard of our school,” said Al-Sayegh.

For a novice team, made up of students who had never competed in debate tournaments before, being able to hold their own against a total of 24 debate teams is an admirable feat. “Having put in many hours practicing, winning second place overall in debate served as proof that their hard work and time was worthwhile,” said Allee. “They are intelligent, well-spoken students and I am proud to have them representing our University.” 

The IU South Bend debate team will take part in five other competitions during the school year. “I expect much more success from them in the future,” said Allee.