The Fullerton College Forensics team is preparing to head to the National Educational Debate Association’s (NEDA) National tournament in mid-March for the first time in the school’s history.
The team is working on setting up more connections with NEDA, an organization that is more popular on the east coast. Their style of debate is a relatable style, stressing that a lot of the popular forms of debate in western states don’t rely enough on relatable arguments.
The tournament will be held in Dayton, Ohio. Competitors Zach Turner, Joseph Phillips, Sarah Benedict, Michael Wu, Rachel Romo and Kitiny Phumchun will all be headed to represent Fullerton College in a tournament with about 20 other colleges and universities as their competition.
“Just knowing the material isn’t enough,” Benedict said. “Just having a brief made isn’t’ enough.”
With any tournament, proper preparation is key and the debate team has put in their fair share of work.
The team has been preparing for this tournament for weeks, collecting all relative information from articles, books and other sources, spending hours each day formulating arguments and counter-arguments and doing practice rounds.
“There’s a point where we start listing every possible argument in favor of resolution that we can think of,” Turner said. “We start listing every possible argument against those. It’s kind of a long process of listing, building and then weeding it out, looking for the quality.”
The team has had their share of practice, having a few practice tournaments with Cal State Fullerton, going to some tournaments and their scores are encouraging.
“We’re bringing different types of debate to the west coast,” Wu said. “We’re bringing this public forum type of debate from the Midwest and East Coast. We’re bringing it to the West Coast and starting a new trend.”
In the recent Winter Express tournament hosted by Fullerton College, Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Northridge competed and the FC team swept the competition coming in 1st, 2nd and 3rd places.
The weekend of March 6, Fullerton College and Cal State Fullerton will be joint-hosting a tournament using the same debate topic as the national tournament.
Guests at the tournament will likely be other local CSUs and also Ball State University from Indiana, one of the top competitors at NEDA Nationals.
“I’m really grateful to Mr. Kresse, the school and the President for backing us up and believing in us,” Turner said.
The team is excited to have the opportunity to head to NEDA nationals and wanted to voice their thanks to the school and its faculty for giving them an opportunity to compete at a national tournament.
“We can go and do this, do well and gain more support for it. We get other schools better connected, get more students into this,” Turner said. “I think it’s the opportunity to be a part of building something up, because the staff and school are willing to do it but they need successful students to lead the way.”
Wu summed up that this opportunity would be a good chance for the Forensics team to bring home a big trophy.