Tuesday, March 17, 2015

ISU Debate Captures National Title in Pi Kappa Delta’s British Parliamentary Debate Competition

Brock & Patrick pose under the arch at ISU with their PKD trophies
Idaho State Seniors, Patrick Loftus (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) and Brock Sondrup (Idaho Falls, Idaho) weathered a snow emergency and won the Pi Kappa Delta National Championship in British Parliamentary Debate, bringing home ISU’s first ever National Championship in debate. The team also tied with each other for 4th place speaker awards. Loftus and Sondrup traveled with two coaches and three other members of the James M. & Sharon E. Rupp Debate society to Ohio University to compete in the tournament.

Upon arrival in Ohio, there was little to no snow on the ground. As the team drove to their hotel about an hour from the Columbus airport, the snow began to fall on Wednesday March 4, 2015. By evening, there was enough snow in Athens County, Ohio that tournament officials were concerned about their ability to proceed with the competition at Ohio University. As the national tournament committee began cancelling events for that day, they promised to reevaluate the situation the next morning. Snow continued to fall overnight.

By 10 am, Athens County had declared a Level 3 snow emergency making it illegal to drive on the roads and Ohio University had closed its campus for the day. The ISU debate team was staying in nearby Hocking County which had declared a Level 2 snow emergency. This meant that the team could leave to hotel to seek out food and other necessities, such as ice scrapers for the rental cars. Nonetheless, they were unable to compete, the tournament was cancelled, and the Idaho State Debate team was forced to wait out the snow. Late Thursday, the team received good news. It appeared that the debates would begin the next morning.
Brock Sondrup debates
at Ohio University

Loftus and Sondrup, competed for three days culminating in receiving the First Place, Top Superior Award in British Parliamentary debate from the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament.  They also were recognized as tied for fourth place speaker awards. British Parliamentary debate is team debate where four teams from different schools compete in a single round. The teams are then ranked from 1st place to 4th place and points are assigned. Loftus and Sondrup were ranked 1st in 75% of their debates. Tristin Herup-Wheeler (Kuna, Idaho), Aurora Zantman (Kuna, Idaho), and Mike Eyre (Boise, Idaho) also traveled to Ohio.

Patrick Loftus debates
at Ohio University
Examples of topics included: This house believes a cut in military spending is necessary to fund social programs; This house would remove all nonmedical exemptions for vaccinations; This house supports President Obama’s executive action on immigration. Debaters must be prepared to argue both sides of any topic. Topics are usually drawn from current events and recent news stories. Teams are assigned a position in the debate so they practice advocating for ideas they may agree or disagree with. The ability to debate both sides of a topic improves critical thinking skills and trains debaters to thoughtfully engage in public dialogue.

            The tournament was hosted by the Pi Kappa Delta (PKD) debate honors society. The oldest national collegiate forensics organization, PKD is celebrating its hundredth anniversary this year. The organization also sponsored the first national tournament. With more than 80,000 alumni, the PKD national tournament sponsored 513 entries in 13 different kinds of debate this year.

Back Row: Mike Eyre
Front Row (left to right): Brock Sondrup, Patrick Loftus,
Aurora Zantman, Tristin Herup-Wheeler
 According to Scott Jensen, the National Tournament director, PKD welcomed “75 schools from 30 states. The well over 2100 entries in 23 different events makes this a magnificent comprehensive forensic experience for all the nearly 800 students, educators, and critics . . . performing, advocating, speaking, and educating.”  Jensen also noted, “The comprehensiveness of this tournament, combined with the unique approach that celebrates egalitarian success, as well as exceptional performance, makes Pi Kappa Delta’s biennial tournament the best thing in our activity.”

The tournament host, Dan West from Ohio University, said “This year’s impressive collection of more than 2000 event entries makes this both the largest tournament in the U.S. for the 2014-2015 competitive season and the largest Pi Kappa Delta conference tournament to run in recent memory.”

video
Sondrup & Loftus receive their awards at PKD

Director of the James M. & Sharon E. Rupp Debate Society, Sarah Partlow Lefevre said, “We’ve placed as high as third at CEDA Nationals in 2007. But, to my knowledge, the PKD win is our first ever national title.” She continued, “We are incredibly lucky to have such great success in our first year competing in British Parliamentary Debate.”

Partlow Lefevre believes the success is due to the hard work and talent of the debaters with a little bit of luck thrown in. “They are learning advocacy skills that will last long past graduation. . . . But, winning a tournament also involves an element of chance,” she said, “you have to have the right topics on the right sides, ones the debaters feel comfortable defending.  The positions assigned in debates and who the opponents are in particular debates also influence outcomes.”    

Sondrup and Loftus receive their awards at the
Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament awards ceremony.

Both members of the winning team plan to graduate in May. Brock Sondrup’s degree will be in Communication, Media, and Persuasion. He will take a year and work while he decides between law school and graduate school. Patrick Loftus is finishing a General Studies degree and has been accepted to dental school. He will start at Midwestern University's Glendale Campus after spending the summer with his family.

According to Sondrup, “Debate has provided an opportunity for me to compete and win. But, more importantly, it has allowed me to develop advocacy skills that I can use in my future career.” He believes, “It is very cool to be able to say I won my last debate. Not many debaters can say that.”

Sondrup and Loftus consult during a debate at PKD Nationals.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Rupp Debate Featured in the Bengal, ISU's Student Newspaper

Jason Byron & Patrick Loftus prepare to debate at Gonzaga University in February, 2015.

ISU debate was featured in the Bengal last week.  Check it out!  No Argument Here 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Patrick Loftus and Brock Sondrup Win Pi Kappa Delta National Championship in British Parliamentary Debate


Brock and Patrick received the First Place Award (Top Superior Award) at the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament in Athens, Ohio at Ohio University.  It was the 100th Anniversay of the PKD national honor society for debate.  
Brock and Patrick with their Top Superior Awards at the Pi Kappa Delta Awards Banquet.

Below: Video of Patrick and Brock claiming their British Parliamentary Championship Awards

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Patrick Loftus and Jason Byron Take Fourth Place in WSCA Tournament

Patrick Loftus, Aurora Zantman, Cameo Curnutt, and Jason Byron at Gonzaga University for the WSCA Debate Tournament. 
Idaho State University’s James M. & Sharon E. Rupp Debate Society placed fourth and was recognized for debate and speaking at the Western States Communication Association (WSCA) tournament over the weekend of February 21st. Senior Patrick Loftus (Coeur d’Alene, ID) and junior Jason Byron (Idaho Falls, ID) were recognized as the 6th and 7th place speakers, were finalists, and placed 4th overall.  

Sixteen schools from across the northwest participated in the tournament hosted at Gonzaga University’s campus, in Spokane WA. There were sixty-one debate entries across three divisions of debate.  Idaho State participated in British Parliamentary debate, a team debate that features a persuasive speaking style on topics pulled from recent news stories.

ISU debaters supported and opposed a variety of topics over five preliminary rounds. Both ISU teams were on the supporting side of instituting quotas based on socio-economic status in public schools, and argued against the food industry having an obligation to make currently unhealthy foods healthier.
Jason Byron & Partick Loftus Prepare to debate at Gonzaga University.

The final round topic focused on media stereotypes. Loftus and Byron were required to support the position that television actors of a minority group have a moral obligation to reject roles that are negative or stereotypical. Their primary argument was that negative or stereotypical roles violate a person’s basic human dignity, and that actors should reject these roles to protect their own sense of human worth.


Also in the final round were teams from Carroll College, Gonzaga University and Northwest University. A panel of judges from regional universities ranked each team in the debate. Idaho State’s team took fourth place and Gonzaga University’s team, who also supported actors’ rejection of stereotypical roles, took first place in the round.

Assistant Director of Forensics, Willow Moline said, “The final round was a tough debate, with excellent arguments from all of the teams involved. Patrick and Jason gave speeches that were compelling and engaging, and reflected the work they have been putting into developing their skills.”


Also competing for ISU were junior Aurora Zantman (Kuna, ID) and freshman Cameo Curnutt (Las Vegas, NV). Zantman and Curnutt took second place in over half of their rounds. Director of Forensics, Sarah Partlow-Lefevre remarked, “Cameo and Aurora did very well, especially considering that this was the first tournament for Cameo. They have grown as debaters and can be very proud of their performance.”  
Cameo Curnutt and Aurora Zantman at the WSCA Debate tournament.  
Idaho State Debate will be travelling to Salem, OR the weekend of the 28th for the Hatfield Memorial Debates, before wrapping up the season in early March at the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament, hosted by Ohio University.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tristin Herup-Wheeler named Second Place Novice speaker award at Western Washington University

Congratulations to Tristin Herrup-Wheeler for winning the Second Place Novice speaker award at Western Washington University last weekend. There were more than 220 individual debaters at the tournament and 150 debate entries. We are proud to represent the Department of Communication, Media, and Persuasion, the Idaho State University College of Arts & Letters, ASISU, and Idaho State University.  <3 ISU Debate

Pictured front to back: Tristin Herup-Wheeler, Alex Klingonsmith, Jason E. Stark, Aurora Linda Zantman, Emma Finch, and Molly Draben


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Debating to Build Mental Strength: Part Four

Written by: Dr. Sarah T. Partlow Lefevre


It has been a few months since the first three installments.  But, I hate to leave a job unfinished.  So here goes number four.  In parts one, two, and three, I discussed 15 ways that debate can build mental strength.  I based my suggestions on the blog written by Paul Hudson called 20 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.  In this final installment, I discuss Hudson’s remaining suggestions and contextualize them in terms of debate.  The suggestions are:

16. Repeating Mistakes
17. Giving Into Their Fears
18. Acting Without Calculating
19. Refusing Help From Others
20. Throwing In The Towel

In debate, students learn to avoid repeating mistakes, overcome their fears, prepare their arguments, accept help from their partners, and to never give up.

16. Mentally strong debaters learn to avoid repeating mistakes.
When I was a debater, my coach told me that the path to winning in debate was learning from arguments to which I lost and never losing to the same argument twice.  After debates, I would analyze and examine the arguments that I lost to and write better answers to use in the future.  This strategy works in debate and it works in life.  Rather than bemoaning a loss, complaining about the judge, or belittling your partner, a mentally strong debater should craft better answers to other people’s arguments and seek to use each loss as a moment to learn and improve. 
            
17.  Mentally strong debaters do not give into their fears. 
There is a reason why public speaking is “America’s biggest phobia” according to the Washington Post.  Simply put, public speaking and debate are scary.  It can be a great challenge to speak in front of a judge; to try to give a coherent speech when you might be behind in the debate; to speak well as you enter a break round.  However, giving into such fears leads to defeat.  Instead, mentally strong debaters learn to channel their adrenaline and to use their fear productively to create better performances.  Misdirected adrenaline sparked by a fight or flight response can be a debater’s worst enemy.  Purposeful movement, mental strategies for overcoming fear, and focusing on the task at hand can help debaters to perform under pressure –a portable skill that will serve them throughout their lives.  For more suggestions on overcoming fear click here.

18.  Mentally Strong Debaters Are Prepared and Have Considered Arguments In Advance.
When you have time, you should prepare.  There are different ways to prepare depending on the particular debate format.  But, not to consider a variety of arguments and how they interact before you are in the heat of the debate leaves you without the ability to fully understand the complexity and strategy in a given situation.  Substantial calculation in advance will serve you well in prep time and speeches and allow you to construct winning arguments.

19.  Mentally strong debaters accept help from their teammates and their coaches.
In watching years of practice debates, I have often noticed that debaters respond to constructive criticism defensively with comments such as, “Well, of course I won’t do that in the debate” or “I know I am not supposed to do that.  But, this is only a practice.” This type of face saving comment makes it difficult for a debater to learn or to process potential improvements.  Mentally strong debaters should be open to constructive help and suggestions from their coaches. 

Additionally, debaters often refuse to accept help from their partners or other team members.  This is unfortunate because learning to work effectively in a team environment is one of the greatest benefits of debate.  Mentally strong debaters recognize that accepting help from others makes everyone better and does not diminish the individual. 

20.  Mentally strong debaters do not give up.

Many people try debate and give up because it is a challenge.  But, as with most things that are worth doing, debate requires personal growth and improvement over time.  It requires concerted effort from individuals who do not easily give up.  Perseverance in debate magnifies the importance of the accomplishments you do have.  We don’t do debate because it is easy.  We do it because it is an intellectually challenging, strategy oriented activity that requires development of useful skills over time.  If debate was easy, there would be no reason to continue.  It is because debate is difficult that we must press on.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Lewis & Clark Debate Tournament

Aurora, Tristan, Karen, Molly, Sasha, Mike, Jay, & Patrick
The James M. & Sharon E. Rupp Debate Society is competing at Lewis and Clark College this weekend in Portland, Oregon.  The team has a chance to visit downtown Portland last night where they were able to ride , to ride MAX, eat fantastic food at Mcmenamins, to visit the famous Powell's City of Books, and to stop by Voodoo Doughnuts.  After a good night's sleep, the debaters are competing in Extemporaneous Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, Informative Speaking, and Programmed Oral Interpretation today.  Tomorrow and Sunday, they will compete in NPDA debate and British Parliamentary Debate.  Good Luck Bengals!  GRRRRR.  #ISUDEBATE #RUPPDEBATE
Some of the debaters stopped to see Vista House in the Columbia River Gorge.

The Columbia River Gorge.
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The Columbia River Gorge.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ISU Debaters Take Top Speaking Awards at the College of Southern Idaho

Brandon Biggs & Patrick Loftus
In a quick trip to the College of Southern Idaho on September 26th and 27th, Idaho State debaters Brandon Biggs and Patrick Loftus earned top speaking honors and placed third overall in British Parliamentary Debate.  Also competing were Nicholas Tarbet and Karen Lei.

The Fran Tanner Invitational at the College of Southern Idaho hosted seventy debate entries in three divisions of debate.  After four preliminary debates, Loftus and Biggs were seeded second and invited to debate in the final round of British Parliamentary debate where they placed third overall.  In addition, Loftus and Biggs were honored as the top speakers at the tournament with a total of 693 speaker points finishing nine full points above the second place team.  Loftus and Biggs took first or second place in three of their four debates.

The team debated in British Parliamentary Debate which is a debate format designed to include eight individual speakers from four teams.  British Parliamentary is a fast paced, fun debate format that allows audience participation.   Each speaker has one seven minute speech but may ask questions of other speakers during their speech times, mimicking the style of the British Parliament.  This type of debate is accessible to public audiences and encourages proper delivery, jokes, and rhetorical flourishes while relying on the foundations of a good argument.  Rather than choosing a winner and a looser, the judges collaborate to rank order the four teams participating in the debate.

Patrick Loftus said, "I had a great time at the tournament working together with Brandon. I was very humbled to get the placing we did and am excited to be receiving positive results mid-season."
Brandon Biggs & Patrick Loftus Debating at CSI
The coaches are also pleased with the results.  Sarah T. Partlow Lefevre, Director of the James M. & Sharon E. Rupp Debate Society at Idaho State, said, “We are excited to try British Parliamentary because it is an engaging form of debate that develops students’ persuasive abilities and increases portable skills.”  Indeed, Forbes has listed Communication skills as #2 in the list of the twenty people skills you need to succeed at work.  In a recent Forbes article about the Benefits of speech and debate, Robert Sher argued,

“Here is the truth about students who compete in speech and debate.  They’ve spent hundreds of hours perfecting their speaking skills.  Many have done intensive research to write their speeches.  All have endured the pressure that competition brings, and have performed well intellectually under such pressure.  They’ve made connections and friendships with other high performing peers.  All of these behaviors are excellent predictors of success on any leadership team.”

Partlow Lefevre said, “British Parliamentary debate is particularly good at encouraging students to develop analytic skills, good delivery practices, and a persuasive style.”

                Apparently, Loftus and Biggs are well on their way to perfecting skills that will continue to pay dividends in college and beyond.  “I am so proud of their success and the way that they positively represent Idaho State University,” Dr. Partlow Lefevre said, “The skills they are learning today will last long after the debates end.”

If you are interested in debate or would like to learn more, please contact Dr. Sarah T. Partlow Lefevre using the contact form on the right.
 
Top Speaker and Third Place (Bronze) Trophies.



Friday, September 5, 2014

Debate Photo Scavenger Hunt - 2104

A few of the pictures taken during our first day scavenger hunt.  Who do you think had the best interpretation?

1. A selfie of the team:
Alexander Lopez   & Molly Draben

Patrick Loftus & Brandon Biggs
Mike Eyre & Jay Stark


2. An Owl:

No one knows why this is here.

We paid $4 to get this.

The sign says OWL

3. Strategy:
Tic Tac Toe
This is not a strategic shot

Locking the rest of the team out of the squad room.
4. Childhood:
We liked to ride bikes

No, we did not draw this.  Notice that Hope is 10 years old.

We are skipping like children.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Welcome Back ISU Debate!


We are excited to start the 2014-2015 academic year today.  Our first debate squad meeting is located in 410 Frazier Hall.  The meeting runs from 3:00-5:00 pm.  Feel free to drop by and find out about the opportunities available on the Idaho State Debate Team.