My favorite part of speaking to outside audiences is bragging about our high-performing students. Over the past few years, the UT Tyler Debate Team has given me plenty to talk about. Our debaters have been a force on the national level, placing among the country’s top teams year after year. I am proud of what they have accomplished. Congratulations!
We will all be cheering them on in March as the group competes in two national events. The seven students and Dr. Chuck Walts will be traveling to Flagstaff, Arizona, for back-to-back tournaments starting March 15. The first tournament, the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence (NPTE), is by invitation only. The winner of that event, Dr. Walts tells us, is seen as the top debate team in the country.
Immediately following the NPTE is the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) tournament. That tournament also contains some of the best teams in the nation.
Dr. Walts says this is the best season the team has ever had. In particular, the special dedication and outstanding performance of sophomore political science major Kaitlyn Bull of Powderly and freshman social sciences major Sam Cook of Flint have contributed to this year’s high national ranking.
Bull and Cook placed second overall at a recent tournament held in San Diego, California, that is considered one of the premiere events in parliamentary debate. They are currently ranked 16th in the nation by the NPTE. Another UT Tyler pair, Dallas Flick and Carver Hodgkiss, is ranked 41st.
In addition, Bull also received an award for being one of the top five speakers at the tournament, which showcases some of the best debaters in the country.
In other posts, I have talked about the importance of being able to speak well. UT Tyler’s top tier debate team is a perfect example of how development of strong communication skills is something we do.
I have no doubt that these students will succeed in life. I wish them the best of luck in Arizona.
In addition, since the current group is made up of one junior, two sophomores and one freshman, I look forward to seeing what they accomplish next year.