Debate team takes honors at first meet
December 13, 2006

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     Bryan’s new Debate Club hit the ground running with a second-place finish in its first intercollegiate competition, and two team members took high honors in the meet.
     Lawrence LaPlue and Rachel WelchLawrence LaPlue, a junior history and political communication double major, and Rachel Welch, a sophomore communication studies and English literature double major, finished second in a field of 20 teams at the meet at Belmont University. In addition, Rachel captured first-place honors in the individual speaker competition and Lawrence finished second.
     Reaching this point has been a challenge Lawrence has been working on for the past two years at Bryan. “Ever since I was a senior in high school I have hoped to debate at the collegiate level,” he said. “I wanted to come to Bryan, but Bryan didn’t have a debate team. I’ve been working toward this ever since I came.”
     Rachel explained that in the parliamentary debate format teams are given a resolution statement and have 15 minutes to prepare. The “government” team defines the terms and the “opposition” team must be prepared to counter the “government’s” arguments.
     “It’s as close as you can get to real life,” Rachel said. “You’re forced to deal with uncertainties but still stand up and deliver your arguments well.”
     Lawrence and Rachel competed in the novice division with 19 other teams, including duos from debate powerhouses Patrick Henry College and Carson-Newman. “In five preliminary rounds we won four,” Rachel said.
     The team, which also includes sophomores Ben Johnson, Lindsay Matlock, Brittany McGehee and Laura Nieses, meets weekly to review current events—the source for debate topics—and to practice.