R-MC Debate Team places 1st in Montreal

The Randolph-Macon College Franklin Debate Society has been busy this past semester with different competitions, with one of the most recent competitions taking the team to Montreal, Canada.

This year, the team is made up of sophomores, juniors and seniors, and they have shown that their diversity in class year and their personalities help to make them a winning team.

“The debate team is my favorite activity at Randolph-Macon because it allows us to think critically about current events and be able to articulate them,” senior Kristian Spencer said. “There are so many more facets to these competitions than debates. There are dramatic events where competitors are able to orally interpret pieces from a play, film, poetry or novel,”

“There are also platform speeches where we are able to research a topic of our own interest and deliver it. I also love the atmosphere because we are a very diverse group of students from different social circles, but we really are able to harmonize into a force to be reckoned with while having fun.”

Team members include Spencer, Jamie Ramsey ’15, Mikhaila Calice ’15, PJ Dominiski ’15, Derek Dittmar ’16, Rebecca Liskiewicz ’17, Matt Stanek ’15, Taylor Evelyn ’17, Jane Luu ’16, Jasmine Shepard ’16 and Dashonte Temoney ’17. Coaches Dr. Ted Sheckels and Professor John Mingus helped lead the team to their first place finish.

“We did very well at the competition,” Spencer said. “Our team got first overall, winning the competition. I was very surprised when my debate partner, Jamie Ramsey, and I won first place debate team.”

The Montreal debate was a special event for the team because it was held in a different country and venue.

“The Montreal debate does not occur every year,” Shepard said. “This is a special event in which our competition takes place in a different country and is hosted in a hotel opposed to it traditionally being hosted in a school,”

“We had a big turnout for our Montreal trip. Well over half of our debate team attended, taking time from their J-term courses and internships to help us get the first place award in our competition.”

“The Montreal trip is always a highlight because we travel to another country, but we are also not competing at another school’s location like in previous competitions,” Spencer said. “The Montreal competition also had us competing in the hotel rooms of the judges as opposed to classrooms, so it was a very drastic adjustment that was required.”

Being in Montreal added a challenge that the debate team members had to overcome.

“Since the debate was also held in a foreign country it was difficult because we each had to get used to communicating with people that spoke French,” Liskiewicz said. “But overall, the tournament was similar to other tournaments in which we gave our all and did the best we could.”

As with prior competitions, competitors go in and try their hardest to win, which is what the Franklin Debate Society did. Their last debate competition of the semester will take place on March 6-8 in Ocean City, MD.

“This competition will wrap up our debating season,” Shepard said, “and we will determine which school— hopefully R-MC— will take home the award for the best debaters of the season.”

Liskiewicz said she has high hopes for the debate team in the coming year.

“I hope that even with many people graduating, we will be able to continue doing as well as we have in the past and hopefully bring in new members,”

“The debate team is a very close group of people, and I hope that we continue to be close. I also hope that we win the Ocean City tournament.”

With many seniors on the debate team this year, the competition in Ocean City will hopefully be something they can look back on and see as their last win of their college career.

Spencer said he hopes that the debate team “really continues to excel and also remembers to kick butt and have fun. I also hope that I am able to return to the competitions as a judge.”

Shepard said she has enjoyed her time on the debate team and also echoes Spencer’s hope that the team continues to improve.

“One really great thing about being a part of debate is the opportunity to meet new faces each time you go to a competition,” Shepard said. “You become friends with your competitors and get the opportunity to learn more about them and as well as they school they go to. It is a really great experience.”

-Naoko Branker ’15, Editor-in-Chief

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