Fullerton College’s Debate Team was victorious at the National Educational Debate Association’s National Tournament placing in multiple categories.
“Rather than treating it as, ‘oh it’s just another debate tournament,’ We really wanted to approach this as if we were trying to discover and solve real problems,” said Zach Turner, team member.
FC sent three teams to the NEDA National Tournament the weekend of March 13. All three teams placed; as a whole they came in second in sweepstakes (overall points) and also won the award for the best new program.
This is the first time that the college has ever sent a team to nationals. Most of the competitors had two or more years of experience debating while FC team members only had less than two years of experience.
The subject of the debate centered on the demilitarization of local law enforcement agencies and was chosen months in advance before the competition. The team had studied the subject, putting together facts and articles in preparation.
“It dominated our lives. The first thing I would do is roll over, turn my alarm off, look through my emails and immediately start reading about demilitarization,” said Kitiny Phumchun, team member.
Team members Rachel Romo and Joseph Phillips won first place in Novice Policy Debate. In Open Policy Debate, Zach Turner and Kitiny Phumchun took third place and Sarah Benedict and Michael Wu took fourth place.
Turner was shocked when she heard her name being announced for third place.
“I was still absolutely just fixated on the fact that our novices just pulled first place,” said Turner. “I was blown away. This is the coolest thing in the world. And wait, did they say we’re third?”
The team as a whole hopes that this victory will encourage other West Coast debate teams to join NEDA.