Southeastern News

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.

Speech and debate students compete in Tulsa event

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Speech and Debate Association competed in the Tulsa Community College-Northeast’s

fourth annual Green Country Swing, Nov. 14-16.

         Ally Shafer, freshman business/communication major from Madill, finished sixth, the highest individual placement in the team’s first three tournaments.

The forensics tournament featured novice, varsity and professional divisions of International Public Debate Association-style debate, National Forensics Association-Lincoln/Douglas Debate, and all 11 American Forensics Association (AFA) Individual Events (IE).

Southeastern’s team was made up of Shafer, Anthony Hill, junior political science major from Caddo, and Gwendolyn Harper, junior psychology major from Paris, Texas.

Southeastern’s team matched wits with 135 competitors representing 19 schools from six midwestern and southwestern states.

Assistant professor of communication/speech and debate team advisor Dr. Randy Clark said, “The third tournament of the forensics season yielded a breakthrough of sorts for us. The team has been preparing well and working hard. We expected one or two students to break through to the finals and it finally happened.”

Shafer reached the finals in the AFA-IE of Informative Speaking and took sixth place in the Saturday half of the swing. According to AFA rules, informative is an original memorized speech written to inform the audience on a general topic of interest and/or usefulness. The maximum length of the speech is 10 minutes.

Clark said, “Shafer’s hard work and dedication to improving the overall quality of her speech and her non-verbals during her delivery is really beginning to pay off. Breaking through to the finals will now become a common occurrence for Ally. Now the challenge is to consistently place in the top three of each tournament.”

Southeastern’s next forensics tournament will be the Cameron Christmas Classic at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, December 5-7.

To learn more about Southeastern’s intercollegiate forensics program and tournament schedule, contact Clark at 580-745-2556 or go to