Speech and debate squad to go to national competition

Six SHSU students will compete in a national competition to be held at Bradley University, April 5-8 in Peoria, Ill., thanks in part to help from David Payne, vice president of Student Affairs, and Thelma Douglass, vice president of Student Services. “I think we’ll do very well even though we’re a young squad. Our team has a good reputation,” said Debbie Hatton, director of forensics. “We’re really thankful to Vice Presidents Payne and Douglass. We only had $70 in our account and they were able to get us $2500 more for the trip.”In the last 10 years, the SHSU speech and debate squad has won over 300 trophies competing against schools with much higher budgets. “We’re about the only ones with a budget of less than $30,000,” Hatton said. “We had more people qualify this year for nationals than Southwest Texas State, and they have a budget of about $69,000.”The speech and debate squad received a budget of $10,000 last year and raised $2,800 on its own. Hatton said they have traveled to about 13 or 14 competitions since September, and the low budget means the students have ended up paying for quite a bit.Students participating in the competition include Melissa Allen, Sarah Williams, Amy Coates, Jeff McGinn, Tony Landero and Nellie Rivera. They will compete individually and in duos in the areas of prose, poetry and extemporaneous speaking.”We lost our debate coach, so we haven’t been doing much of that,” Hatton said. “We will have that going again next year, though.”The contests run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day, and Hatton said as long as they keep winning, the squad will stay pretty busy.”There’s only one thing in Peoria and that’s the Caterpillar earthmovers factory,” Hatton said. “We’re really hoping we get to stay busy.”

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