R-MC’s Franklin Debating Society Wins CFA Tournament

Mar 16, 2018


Franklin Debating Society membersRandolph-Macon College's Franklin Debating Society won the Collegiate Forensic Association (CFA) season-ending tournament, which took place March 3-4, 2018 in Ocean City, Maryland. The tournament was the culmination of a year-long competition, and the Welch-Strine trophy—named after two long-serving presidents of the CFA—has been returned to the display case outside of the Campus Store in Brock Commons. Randolph-Macon College has been the winner of the Welch-Strine trophy for six of the past eight years.

A Remarkable Achievement
"R-MC was especially strong in debate at this tournament," says English and Communication Studies Professor Ted Sheckels, who coaches the Franklin Debating Society. "This was a remarkable achievement—one that our students are duly proud of."

"Every single one of our squad members put in a tremendous amount of effort and every single one of them improved," says Communication Studies Professor Ruth Beerman, who serves as assistant debate and forensics coach. "I love coaching and mentoring throughout the year, as I see how our students learn, grow and excel."

Student Leadership
Caroline Kouneski '19, a political science and communication studies major and religious studies minor, serves as president of the Franklin Debating Society.

"I have been on the team since the beginning of my freshman year," she says. "The first time I debated, I was so nervous. I've always considered myself to be outgoing—but being around so many smart and talented people made me understand that I had to work hard to succeed."

In her role as president, Kouneski, a Presidential Scholarship recipient, helps her peers pick their speech topics and helps ensure that participants act and feel like a team.

"I never want my teammates to feel like they need to win all the time to feel included," she says. "I hope that I am the mentor that my former teammates were to me, and I am honored to be president of this team."

Parliamentary Debate
In parliamentary debate, Sean Gordon '19 and Caroline Kouneski '19 finished 1st; Sydney Hinkle '17 and Matthew DeLancey '21 finished 4th; and Brianne Habit '19 and Lauren Grace Wygal '19 finished 6th. Gordon was 1st place speaker; Bridget Maas '20 was 4th. In Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Gordon was 1st, and Melissa Pritchard '21 was 4th.

Forensics Events
The results in the forensics events were as follows:
Poetry Interpretation: Hinkle, 6th
Prose Interpretation: Maas, 4th; Karalynn Thomas '18, 5th; and Amanda Baumgartner '19, 6th
Single Dramatic Interpretation: Baumgartner, 4th
Dramatic Duo Interpretation: Kouneski and Thomas, 3rd; Mass and Brianna Ciuffo '20, 5th
Declamation: Kouneski, 2nd; Maas, 5th
Persuasive Speaking: DeLancey, 6th; Maas, 4th
Humorous Speaking: Wygal, 2nd
Communication Analysis: Hinkle, 3rd; Thomas, 4th
Impromptu Speaking: Wygal, 4th
Pentath (five events): Gordon, 6th

Year-long Awards
At this tournament, CFA presents year-long awards (1st and Runner-Up) in all categories. Several R-MC students won these year-long honors:
Prose Interpretation: Bridget Maas, Runner-Up
Dramatic Duo: Karalynn Thomas, 1st
Persuasive: Sean Gordon, 1st
Communication Analysis: Caroline Kouneski, tied for 1st
Impromptu Speaking: Sean Gordon, Runner-Up
Lincoln-Douglas Debate: Melissa Pritchard, Runner-Up
Parliamentary Debate: Sean Gordon and Caroline Kouneski, 1st