Southeastern News

Speech and Debate students compete in OKC


 Representing Southeastern at the event at Oklahoma City University were, front row, left to right, Hannah Nunley, Hannah Barnett, Jordan Nelson, Haleigh Harper, and Emily Dahl. Back row, Avery Kahl, Jacob Morrison, Avery Roach, and Dr. Randy Clark.

Representing Southeastern at the event at Oklahoma City University were, front row, left to right, Hannah Nunley, Hannah Barnett, Jordan Nelson, Haleigh Harper, and Emily Dahl. Back row, Avery Kahl, Jacob Morrison, Avery Roach, and Dr. Randy Clark.

DURANT, Okla. – The Southeastern Speech and Debate Association competed at the Christmas Classic Speech and Debate Tournament, November 30 — December 2, at Oklahoma City University.

The forensics tournament featured varsity National Parliamentary Debate, junior and varsity International Public Debate Association, and all 11 American Forensics Association National Individual Events.

Representing Southeastern were Jacob Morrison, junior political science major; Hannah Nunley, freshman political science major; Hannah Barnett, freshman communication major; Emily Dahl, freshman communication major; Haleigh Harper, freshman mathematics education major; Avery Kahl, freshman aviation major; and Austin Roach, freshman computer science major.

Other schools competing were Carl Albert State College, Kansas State University, Kansas Wesleyan University, Northeastern State University, Oklahoma City University, Oral Roberts University, Sterling College, Texas Christian University, Texas Southern University, Tulsa Community College, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Texas at Dallas, Wayland Baptist University, and West Texas A & M University.

Barnett, from Hugo, Oklahoma, reached the quarterfinals in Public Debate in her first tournament as a member of the team. She lost a split decision to the eventual tournament champion from Oral Roberts University.

Kahl, from Sherman, Texas, took first place in his second Impromptu round of the tournament, and narrowly missed the breakout rounds.

The Parli team of Kahl and Harper, from Durant, in their first tournament as part of Dr. Randy Clark’s Business and Professional Speaking Honors course, went one and four in their preliminary rounds.

“This is a remarkable accomplishment for this duo, especially since they were competing in the open division and neither of them have any formal debate experience, aside from the education and practice stemming from our class,” said Dr. Clark.

The team of Morrison, from Durant, and Nunley, from El Campo, Texas,  finished the preliminary rounds three and two and missed the quarterfinals based on speaker points. In two Parli tournaments this year, the team of Morrison and Nunley is eight and two in preliminary rounds.

SSDA’s next forensics tournament will be the Sweetheart Swing at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, February 8-10, 2019.

To learn more about Southeastern’s intercollegiate forensics program and SSDA’s tournament schedule, visit the Department of Art, Communication and Theatre website at or contact Speech and Debate Advisor Dr. Randy Clark at ext. 2556.

Heather Burrage recognized as “Achiever Under 40’’ at OKC awards luncheon

hburrage[1]DURANT, Okla. – Local attorney and Southeastern Oklahoma State University graduate Heather Burrage was honored Thursday at The Journal Record’s “Achievers Under 40’’ awards luncheon. The event, which recognized the professional and community achievements of 39 of Oklahoma’s young leaders, was held at the Skirvin Hilton in Oklahoma City.

Keynote speaker for the 13th annual event was Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb.

“Please don’t leave – ever,” Lt. Gov. Lamb told the group.  “There is a renaissance that is pending in Oklahoma,” said Lamb, who acknowledged there are challenges in the state, just as others experience. “The pending renaissance will only occur when bright, successful men and women are participating in that renaissance. For us to realize that and have a state our citizens deserve, you must remain.”

Heather Hillburn Burrage graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Studies Education and went on to graduate, with honors, from the University of Oklahoma College of Law with a Juris Doctorate, in 2002.

She began her practice of law with the Burrage Law Firm in Durant in 2002 with her father-in-law, Michael Burrage, and her husband, David Burrage.

She is a member of the Bryan County Bar Association and the Oklahoma Bar Association.  Burrage was named as a top 100 Super Lawyer in the State of Oklahoma in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014. She is a member of the Durant Education and Service Sorority and PEO Chapter GV and serves on the Board of Directors for the Southeastern Alumni Association, the Miss Southeast Oklahoma Scholarship Pageant, the Crisis Control Center and Imagine Durant.

Burrage is the former Chair of the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission and is also a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America. She specializes in general litigation and trial practice with an emphasis on banking and commercial litigation.

She and her husband David have two children, Jack and Blair.

Love Travel Stops was the presenting sponsor of Thursday’s event.

Jenny Love Meyer, with Love’s, stressed the importance of core values to the group.

“Integrity, innovation, perseverance, strong work ethic, and most importantly a focus on the customer,” Meyer said. “These core values are a foundation for leadership and can be found and nurtured at any level. … You are setting an excellent example in leadership. Look around you and find these values shining in others and encourage them.”

Other sponsors included AT&T, BKD CPAs, the Chickasaw Nation and the Cherokee Nation.

“The Achievers class of 2016 is a very special group, 39 chosen from 117 completed nominations. Their stories detail not only their business talent and acumen, but their concern for and commitment to their families, communities and the world,” said Joni Brooks, president and publisher of The Journal Record. “They are shining examples for younger generations as well as demonstrated results of the mentoring they’ve received along the way. Oklahoma can be proud to have leaders like these, and The Journal Record and our sponsors are excited to present this talented group of award winners to the state.”



Southeastern Symphonic Choir to perform in OKC on Oct. 13

DURANT, Okla. – The Southeastern Oklahoma State University Symphonic Choir will present a daylong musical event with high school and two-year college students in Oklahoma City on Oct. 13.

Supported by a grant from the Presidential Partners’ Student Recruitment Initiative by Faculty, this event will allow Southeastern students to rehearse side-by-side with students from Del City High School and Rose State College at Westminster Presbyterian Church (Oklahoma City).

The rehearsals and concert of Haydn’s  Kleine Orgelmesse, conducted by Southeastern choral professor Dr. Joshua Nannestad, will provide an educational experience for the younger students who may not often have an opportunity to perform classical repertoire with an orchestra. In addition, the students will get

first-hand experience of the type of rehearsal and performance opportunities that are available at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.


A concert is scheduled for that evening at 6 o’clock at the church, as the singers will be joined by a chamber orchestra, organist Dr. Vicki Schaeffer, and soprano soloist Megan Crews, a Southeastern graduate who now sings with the Dallas Opera, for a concert.


In addition to the mass choir performance, the concert will feature solo performances by the Southeastern Symphonic Choir , Joshua Nannestad, conductor, and the Oklahoma Choral Artists, Joshua Phelps and Cheryl Taylor, conductors.

The event is free and open to the public.

Speech and Debate group competes at state event in OKC

Back row, left to right, are Dayton Thibodeaux, Jacobi Crowley, and Jonathan Lucas; Front row, Gwendolyn Harper, Anthony Hill, Ally Shafer.

Back row, left to right, are Dayton Thibodeaux, Jacobi Crowley, and Jonathan Lucas; Front row, Gwendolyn Harper, Anthony Hill, Ally Shafer.

DURANT, Okla. – The Southeastern Oklahoma State University Speech and Debate Association (SSDA) stormed into Oklahoma City for the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Forensics Association (OIFA) State Tournament on Feb. 20-21.

Competitors Jacobi Crowley, senior, Gwendolyn Harper, senior, Anthony Hill, junior, Dayton Thibodeaux, sophomore, Jonathan Lucas, freshman, and Ally Shafer, freshman, matched oratory skills with the best and most talented speech and debaters from

the state of Oklahoma in the individual events of Impromptu Speaking, Duo Interpretation, Poetry, Duo Interpretation, Informative Speaking, Persuasive Speaking, and Parliamentary Debate.

Communication majors Thibodeaux and Shafer placed sixth and fourth, respectively, in Poetry and Informative Speaking. In addition, Thibodeaux and sociology major Harper took third place in Duo Interpretation. This was Shafer’s second finals placement of the season. Thibodeaux was competing in his first tournament since joining the team this semester.

Cameron University, East Central University, Kansas City (Kansas) Community College, Northeastern State University, Oklahoma City University, Texas Tech, Tulsa Community College, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Oklahoma, and West Texas A&M University were among the 60 competitors in 11 Individual Preparation and Limited Preparation events and Parliamentary and Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

The National Parliamentary Debate Association sponsored-debate rounds took place on Feb. 20 and the American Forensic Association sponsored Lincoln-Douglas Debate and National Forensic Association sponsored National Individual Events tournament began Feb. 21. All event winners, along with individual speaker awards, top competitors in the state of Oklahoma and the overall sweepstakes winner were announced on Saturday evening during the tournament awards ceremony.

Dr. Randy Clark, assistant professor of communication studies and speech and debate advisor, said, “The team has been working and preparing very hard to make an impressive showing at this season’s state tournament. Although not all of our competitors placed, we are very happy for those who did. We’ll continue to keep working hard, preparing the Southeastern way so that every member of our team is vying for a finals top three finish.”

The Parli debate team of Crowley and Lucas ranked 19th and 20th of the 30 debate competitors, and although Crowley and Lucas did not reach the quarterfinals, Clark was nonetheless proud of what the team was able to accomplish.

“I’m very proud of the team and their showing, ‘’ he said. “They gained a remarkable amount of experience this weekend and a tremendous amount of respect from other competitors and other coaches.’’

SSDA’s final competitive tournament of the season will be March 13-15 at the JV and Novice Nationals Debate Tournament at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kansas.