VSU Debate wins four state awards

VALDOSTA, Ga. — Valdosta State University’s Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team recently earned four awards at the Georgia Parliamentary Debate Association State Competition hosted by Mercer University in Macon.

VSU student Travis Edwards of Ellenwood earned a third-place speaker award in the varsity/open division, according to university officials. He anticipates graduating in May with a bachelor of arts in sociology and anthropology.

Haley Vinson of Saint Mary’s earned a fifth-place speaker award in the varsity/open division. She anticipates graduating in May with a bachelor of science in education in early childhood education, according to university officials.

Shanta Johnson of Ludowici earned a ninth-place speaker award in the varsity/open division, according to university officials. She anticipates graduating in fall 2020 with a bachelor of science in nursing.

As a team, Edwards and Johnson placed fifth in the varsity/open division.

The students debated several prevalent issues, including climate change, the war on drugs and animal treatment.

Kelsey Townsend of Stockbridge also represented the VSU Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team at the Georgia Parliamentary Debate Association State Competition. The VSU debaters were led by Dr. Michael Eaves, director, and Hannah Tabrizi, assistant coach.

“I was really pleased with our performance,” said Tabrizi, who earned a bachelor of fine arts in communication arts from VSU in spring 2017 and is currently pursuing a master of arts in communication arts. “Speaker awards are tough to get, so it was really cool to see our members catching the eye of the judges.”

The Georgia Parliamentary Debate Association State Competition featured parliamentary debates sanctioned by the National Parliamentary Debate Association, which sponsors two-on-two debate. Five colleges and universities competed at the event, which featured varsity/open, junior varsity and novice debaters.

The VSU Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team is open to all majors on campus and does not require previous experience. The team competes in regional and national-level competitions and participates in parliamentary debate as well as individual events, including impromptu speaking, extemporaneous speaking, informative speaking, persuasion, dramatic interpretation, dramatic duo, poetry interpretation, etc.

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