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Rookie debaters test their skills in tournament

Justin Jackson

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In a day of civil discourse, Saturday, the Chico State Speech and Debate Team hosted a rookie speech and debate tournament on campus.

From the nervous to the persistent, many students who participated in the speech and debate tournaments came to test their skills for the first time.

In the public speaking event, each competitor would speak for a set number of minutes on respective topics such as sex work, gun control or radicals from the left and right of the political spectrum. They could either compete in persuasive speaking for five to six minutes, or give an informative speech, speaking for seven to nine minutes.

Judges would then rank the speakers from one to four which would determine their standings each round.

In the debate section of the tournament, two students would clash against each other while being judged in a similar process as the speech tournament. They would get a different topic each round—like criminal justice reform or the death penalty—and each student would be assigned to the negative or the affirmative side.


Stephanie Knoble (right) and Iris Zepeda (leftin their debate Photo credit: Justin Jackson

In the final debate of the evening, the competitors had their highest level of enthusiasm that day. The topic was the death penalty.

After a long day of discourse, the day ended with Ross Potter as the debate champion.

“This was pretty cool for being my first time doing this,” Potter said. “There were plenty of points where the judges told me I messed up, but I just kept confident and went up there and spoke.”


Ross Potter with his winning certificate Photo credit: Justin Jackson

Winners of the persuasive speech tournament included: Luke Zearfoss, first place, Claire Walters, second place, and Dylan Kolon, third place.

Winners of the informative speech tournament included: Kikuye Fujii, first place; Joseph Rosenberry, second place and Gretchen Kirkreit, third place.

If you would like to know more about the Chico Speech and Debate Team you can go to there web page.

Justin Jackson can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JustJack0176

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1 Comment

One Response to “Rookie debaters test their skills in tournament”

  1. Michelle Zearfoss on December 30th, 2018 5:36 am

    Hi is it Possible to change my son’s last name which was incorrectly spelled as shown here: “Winners of the persuasive speech tournament included: Luke Zearfoos, first place,” ZEARFOSS is the correct spelling. Unfortunately when I google this I am unable to find it under Luke Zearfoss’ correct name.

    Kind Regards,

    Michelle Zearfoss

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Rookie debaters test their skills in tournament