The King’s Debate Society Ranks at UVM Tournament
Momentum Builds for Debate Team
Some would say that The King’s Debate Society (KDS) is the most "Kingsian" student organization on campus. And they might be right. "The King's Debate Society has always been about advocating truth and training King's students to hone their persuasive skills," says John Sailer, President of KDS.
Being on the debate team means participating in highly competitive tournaments at top secular universities. This is where students have a chance to put the ideas they are learning in the classroom into practice in an environment where critical thinking is imperative.
Last weekend, the KDS students piled into vans for the trip to the University of Vermont to compete against over 200 debaters from around the country. "The tournament was excellent," said fiery debater Hannah Herman, "UVM runs a fantastic event with good food, good judges, and good competition." The tournament was attended by over 105 teams and over 210 speakers. "Most notable was the strong Cornell presence, with roughly 20 teams contending," said Herman.
Herman, along with Timothy Perdew, dominated the tournament as King’s best-performing team, ranking fourth for the preliminary rounds and moving on to debate in the finals. "Though we only broke one team to ‘out-rounds,’ everyone from King’s performed at a high level throughout the competition," says Herman, "Our novices did an amazing job debating tough topics."
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Vermont is one of the biggest tournaments of the year, and most of the powerhouses from the region attend, including Cornell, Rochester, Bard, and Bates. "The biggest challenger this year was Cornell," said Sailer. "Their top two debaters are incredible." Even against this stiff competition, Herman came out of the tournament winning the "first speaker" award, beating out Cornell’s top two debaters.
"The debate community has been incredibly welcoming to us over our short five year history, and they continue to support us in our success," said Herman, "Most of the people who congratulated me on my top speaker award were from other schools. I had some fantastic conversations with other debaters between rounds, and they're usually very curious about the mission of The King’ College."
KDS has grown competitively and structurally in recent years and is now viewed as a strong contender around the world. "A few years ago, we were seen mostly as a new and obscure debate school in the region. Every year we further prove that we are a force to be reckoned with," says Sailer. "This is especially exciting because we're one of the only Christian schools doing BP debate, and we effectively smash the pervading stereotype of Christian colleges."
Perdew and Herman are now preparing for their next tournament this coming weekend, the Guindon Father Roger Cup hosted by the University of Ottawa in Canada, while President John Sailer and debate Coach Becca Tingstrom prepare KDS to scrimmage St. John’s University the weekend following. "We're looking forward to some strong international competition, as well as catching up with our Canadian debate friends," says Herman.
"Our vision – to advocate truth in the marketplace of ideas – will always be the central goal of the society," says Sailer. "If debate is just a fun competition or a way to rhetorically dominate other people, there's no reason for it to stick around. Fortunately, the newest generation of students in KDS is passionate about both the activity and the principles of the society. With students like ours, I anticipate KDS becoming even more competitive on the national and international debate circuit."
In 2011, The King’s Debate Society was ranked 25th in the world.
In the heart of New York City, The King's College is an accredited, Christian liberal arts college. Through the truths of Christianity and great works in politics, philosophy, and economics, we are educating the next generation of leaders for America and the world.
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Chad G. Abbott