Thursday, April 8, 2010

BU English Major a National Champion Debater

by Shannon Smith

English Major Kate Tully is a valuable asset to Belmont’s Speech and Debate Team. Since enrolling at Belmont this past fall, she has won numerous awards at competitions around the country. On March 5, 2010, Kate was awarded first place overall for the novice group at the National Christian College Forensics Invitational held at Cedarville University in Ohio. She competed in multiple events, including individual and group, where she was judged on all aspects of her performances.

Kate started out as a member of the team at the beginning of the school year competing only in individual events such as literature interpretation, in which she would act out monologues from literary works, and speech competition, in which she would present prepared speeches.

Kate’s talents as an individual competitor led her to be recruited to compete in group/partner events. Each debate group is composed of two people, although the entire team is allowed to prepare together since they have the same case. They are allotted fifteen minutes of preparation time and given a legal pad on which to brainstorm thoughts, ideas and main points. A fifty-minute debate process follows in which the groups break up and argue their cases.

“My favorite part is being on the team because we [have] all become so close. It’s like we’re a second family,” Kate notes.

Kate believes that she is a better speaker because of her background in writing—and vice versa. “Being on the Speech and Debate Team has helped me develop as a writer,” she says, because during some events we’re forced to speak on the spot. These events help me quickly and fluently articulate my thoughts. Writing the speeches has helped me grow because they are very structured and precise—the organization allows me to efficiently and effectively catalog information.”

Shannon Smith is a Senior BU English Major.