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Franklin Debating Society Wins CFA Tournament

Feb 15, 2017


Franklin debate society studentsMembers of Randolph-Macon College's Franklin Debating Society triumphed at the Collegiate Forensic Association (CFA) Tournament, which was held February 3-4, 2017 at Lynchburg College. R-MC won the tournament, outdistancing second-place Liberty University by 229.5 to 168.5 points.

"The students did a fantastic job, and their debating skills were in top-notch form," says English and Communication Studies Professor Ted Sheckels, who coaches the Franklin Debating Society.

Communication Studies Professor Ruth Beerman serves as assistant debate and forensics coach.

"Our students worked hard all season, and their hard work really paid off: every single student earned an award at this tournament," says Beerman. "I'm very proud of the team, as this result is the first time during our 2016-2017 season where every competitor won at least one award!"

In parliamentary debate, R-MC dominated. Emily Durando '17 and Brianne Habit '19 won first; Chris Cox '19 and Rebekah Hale '20 won second; Lia Clark '20 and Sydney Hinkle '17 won fourth; and Sean Gordon '19 and Caroline Kouneski '19 won fifth. The overall school record was 15-5. Gordon was first-place individual debater; Kouneski was third.

In Lincoln-Douglas debate (one vs. one), Gordon won third place; Stephanie Clute '17 won sixth.

In the limited-prep events, Clark won third in impromptu, while Gordon won first, Habit won fourth, and Cox won sixth in extemporaneous.

In the prepared speech categories, Kouneski won first, Hinkle fourth, and Casey Dossat '20 sixth in informative; Gordon second and Habit sixth in persuasive; Lauren Grace Wygal '19 second and Karalynn Thomas '17 third in humorous; and Kouneski second and Clute third in communication analysis.

In the interpretation events, Durando won fourth in prose; Wygal won third and Durando fourth in drama; Kouneski and Thomas second and Durando and Hinkle third in dramatic duo; and Kouneski fourth and Habit fifth in declamation (interpretation of a famous speech).

In pentathlon competition (five events in different categories), R-MC students won four of the six awards. Kouneski was first, Gordon second, Durando third, and Hinkle sixth.

Franklin Debating Society to Host Championships
The Franklin Debating Society is pleased to announce that R-MC will be hosting the debate championships of the Virginia High School League (VHSL) for at least the next three years.

"This year, we will host the event at an area high school, and in April 2018 and April 2019, we will be hosting on campus," says Sheckels. He and Beerman will manage the different debate competitions VHSL sponsors: policy debate, Lincoln-Douglas debate, public forum debate, and Student Congress. R-MC students and alumni will serve as judges. The debates will bring to campus close to 300 talented high school students.

The Franklin Debating Society
Fostering the invaluable skills of public speaking and reasoned discourse, the Franklin Debating Society also gives students the opportunity to participate in lively debate competitions. Franklin Debating Society members compete intercollegiately in debate and a range of forensics activities. The Society annually hosts the touring British debaters as well as a 19th Century-style debating event.