CSCC Debate Team wins second, best speaker award

Posted 5/10/18

Brian Gerber, co-adviser for the Debate Team, poses with Debate Team members Alex Olive and Nathan Scott.

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CSCC Debate Team wins second, best speaker award


The Cleveland State Debate Team recently attended a tournament at East Tennessee State University where they placed second overall, breaking into the final round of debate for the first time in Cleveland State’s history.  In addition, the Best Speaker award for the tournament was received by Alex Olive. 

“It was honestly a relief winning the Best Speaker Award,” stated Olive. “We had come so close at several tournaments, but could never quite reach the top, so to achieve that in my last tournament was like having a weight lifted off my shoulders.”
According to Adviser Laurie Rowland, the 2017-18 academic year has proven fruitful for the CSCC Debate Team, with it having won at least one to two awards at every tournament in which it has participated this year alone. While the Debate Team was competing at ETSU, Rowland presented to the Communication Faculty at the Southern States Communication Association in Nashville on “Building a Debate Team.”

Rowland said she was proud to discover from colleagues in the field that earning as many awards in just a year's time is remarkable. She was told that many coaches of long-tenured programs are happy to bring back one award a semester, even when attending six or more tournaments per semester with large budgets to support their efforts.
“It's a point of pride for all of us to be doing so well as a team,” stated Olive. “Community colleges face greater challenges when it comes to competing in debate, mostly due to rapid student turnover, so we're extremely proud of the amount of success we've had.  Many four-year colleges are lucky to take home awards at one or two tournaments per year, and we've brought home hardware at all six we've attended.”

Olive credits his success to Rowland. “Every one of us comes from a different background and some are not as comfortable speaking in front of others, but Laurie has strengthened all of our speaking abilities. Every single member of our team has won at least a couple debate rounds and almost everyone has brought home an award of some kind.”
Olive is especially grateful for Rowland’s positive influence and patience. “Her experience as a college debater in her own time has been invaluable for us as we have built a foundation for sustained success for the debate team at Cleveland State. Brian (Gerber) has been such a great supporter as well. He always brings a fresh perspective when we are discussing hefty political topics. and his sense of humor really lightens the mood when we're trying to prepare for round after round of intense competition.”

For more information on CSCC’s Debate Team, feel free to contact Rowland at or by calling 423-473-2333.


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