Penn State Speech & Debate Society has impressive showing at state championships
Courtesy of Penn State News:
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Speech & Debate Society made history at the annual Pennsylvania Forensic Association (PFA) Championship Tournament held Feb. 20-21 at Lafayette College.
Seckin Kara, a freshman science pre-major, won the state championship in impromptu speaking. According to PFA records, this is the first championship that Penn State has won in decades at the state tournament. Seckin was also a semifinalist in parliamentary debate and finished third in the after dinner speaking category.
Will Patton, a senior economics major, was a runner-up in persuasive speaking and qualified for the 142nd Interstate Oratorical Association Contest, the nation’s oldest competitive speaking tournament. Will called the achievement a “defining moment as a Penn Stater” despite only joining the team a short year ago. “The society has provided an avenue for me to cultivate my speaking skills,” Will said. "Joining is truly one of the best things that could've ever happened to me.”
Other members of the Speech & Debate Society also enjoyed broad success:
- Ricardo Rojas, senior electrical engineering major, second overall speaker in parliamentary debate;
- Collin Warren, senior economics major, runner-up in Informative speaking and finalist in extemporaneous speaking;
- Neema Esfandi, freshman undeclared, semifinalist in parliamentary debate;
- and Adrianne Kubiak, freshman information science major, finalist in dramatic interpretation.
The team’s impressive showing represents an important step in its growth. “Penn State used to be very dominant before the team was disbanded in the early 2000s,” said Collin Warren, who is also the society’s president.
Collin thinks this win will “create momentum” the team needs for next month's Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament at the University of Kentucky and into the future.
Jeremy David Johnson, graduate assistant in communication arts and sciences and of the team's coaches, echoed Collin's sentiments. “Our team is very young,” Jeremy said. “Our success at states means we are poised to do big things in the coming years.”
Growing the team will be difficult given its limited funds; but, with more success, its coaches and members are optimistic that they will be able to secure more funding to involve more students