Archived Story

Debaters perfect public speaking

Published 11:43pm Wednesday, January 4, 2012

When students entered their Speech 102 classes at the beginning of the fall semester at Southwestern Michigan College this year, they were presented with a challenge — perfecting their public speaking skills enough to compete in an Intra-School Debate Competition at the end of the semester.

Ashli Teter

While students worked on mastering the fundamentals of public speaking throughout the semester, they also worked in teams of two researching assigned debate topics ranging from “Is it ever justifiable to execute a criminal” to “Are beauty pageants harmful?”
At the end of the semester, each team presented a 20-minute debate of their assigned topic with one student presenting the affirmative side of the issue and one team presenting the negative side of the issue.
The debates were evaluated by panels of guest judges and by the students’ classmates.
At the end of the competition, the judges’ scores were used to determine the top advocate for each class and the students voted on which one of their peers should be awarded the Most Improved Advocate Award.
Ashli Teter won the Top Advocate Award for her Speech 102 class after presenting the affirmative side of the debate topic, “Should the drinking age be lowered to 18?”

Nathan Joiner
Ashlyn Richcreek

Teter, a 2010 graduate of Edwardsburg High School, hopes to one day run her own horse training and boarding facility.
Ashlyn Richcreek, a senior at Edwardsburg High School and a dual enrolled student at SMC, also won the Top Advocate Award for her speech on “Should parents be allowed to homeschool their children?”
Richcreek, a worship leader at Community Evangelical Free Church, plans on pursuing a career in worship arts and youth ministry.
Also, named as the Most Improved Advocate was Nathan Joiner with his debate topic “Should prayer be allowed in public schools?”
Joiner, a 2010 Edwardsburg High School graduate, is studying information technology at SMC. He plans to find a career among the “thousands of opportunities” that await him when he graduates.

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