The Covenant College debate team attended the National Christian College Forensics Association (NCCFA) national tournament, in San Diego Cal. Debate team duo, Tindol Pate and Caleb MacDonald, took home silver in the novice National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) style debate. Senior debate club president Paul Broussard and teammate Lauren MacDougal advanced to varsity quarterfinals in NPDA style debate.
Tindol Pate and sophomore class president candidate Caleb MacDonald, both freshmen, were paired together for the first time and made public speaking magic at the tournament. Receiving two bye’s (technical withdrawals of other teams), and securing their spot in the quarter finals.
MacDonald, who is in his second semester of debate club, is the veteran of the team, while Pate brings raw natural talent in her second ever debate tournament. On the national tournament experience, Pate said “I was more stressed out in the preliminary rounds of the tournament than when we went into out rounds, because I didn’t know if we had won or not. I wanted to break into out rounds and after breaking I was like dude I've made it this far I don’t really care. You know what I mean?” “I felt the exact opposite.” Said MacDonald in response to Pate “Because I was like we’re not going to break so this is just carefree and I can just kind of enjoy the debate and just have fun with it. In the out rounds it was like shoot now I actually have to care. Which I did care the whole time, like I have to, but winning really matters now.” It was this kind of fire and ice dynamic that won the team their spot in the final rounds, and launched them on their path to victory.
The presented debate topics are based on current events. Topics included U.S. Senate decisions connected to the Supreme Court, and whether the federal government should make the persecution of christians abroad a greater priority. With only fifteen minutes to prepare their arguments, the Covenant debate club must defend whatever side of the argument they are assigned. Students are often challenged to think abstractly when playing devil's advocate.
The NCCFA tournament consists of Christian colleges from around the United States. The majority of the colleges give debate scholarships to their students. “Yeah, my parents look at my scholarship for debate as a job, I get five thousand dollars a year.” Jacob, a student from Seattle Pacific University. Other colleges with better fundings have more teams in more competitions, and they tend to outperform the smaller schools. “In that setting, you just compete, and I think Covenant’s debate team has done a very good job having as much success as we have,” Broussard said in response to being asked about the team's lack of adequate funding.
The club’s future is looking up; this year has produced the largest debate club Covenant has seen yet. Debate club president Paul Broussard said about the club that it “is both very big and very young. It makes the club’s immediate future pretty bright.” But with recent budget cuts, this bright future may be cut short. “It helps set a precedent that shows the Covenant debate team can handle having this many people, and that it’s ready to expand and grow. I really hope we have the financial resources in the future to help do so.”
As the debate season comes to an end, the team celebrates a year of laughter, good argumentation, memories, and victories.