B-CU Speech and Debate Team named finalist in National HBCU Speech and Debate Championship


The campus speech and debate society brought home several medals from the second annual National HBCU Speech and Debate Society competition recently. Wildcats standing in the winner's circle were: Terraka Streeter, Melnetra Williams, LaVencia Walker and Ashlyn Denson, who is also president of B-CU's Thurgood Marshall Speech and Debate Society. The event, which took place Feb. 28 to March 3 at Tennessee State University, attracted students from the following colleges and universities: Hampton, Howard, Lawson State Community College, Morehouse, North Carolina A&T, Paul Quinn, Prairie View, Rust, Spelman, Tennessee State, Texas Southern and Wiley. Students competed in such categories as debate, persuasive speaking, impromptu speaking, informative speaking, after-dinner speaking, oral interpretation of poetry and prose, dramatic interpretation, Dramatic duo and slam poetry. Interviewing was also one of the categories. Top winners won trophies and were offered internships with major companies and corporations. During the three-day tournament students debated such topics as whether Sen. Kamala Harris is a better candidate for president than Sen. Cory Booker, replacing the current federal graduated income tax with a flat tax, and even whether reality star Kim Kardashian is a good role model. In addition to debate, B-CU students competed in the persuasive and informative speakingcategory. They delivered speeches that argued ideas including gentrification were forms of genocide, that by use using 36 specific questions, you can fall in love and introverts make better leaders than extroverts. Denson and Walker also competed in categories such as Poetry Interpretation and Program Oral Interpretation using original pieces, as well as such iconic pieces as For Colored Girls' and "Somebody Stole All My Stuff." The Marshall Society also brought home one of three Sweeps Trophies in recognition of overall success by a college or university with a limited number of competitors. Some institutions sent teams that numbered as many as 25 male and female students who presented in a wide range of categories. Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, served as the backdrop for the inaugural competition in 2018. The college was put on the spotlight after the 2007 film titled "The Great Debaters" which was a look at Wiley's debate win in 1938 against the University of Southern California. 

Below is a list of awards won by B-CU students: Ashlyn Denson - Quarter finalist, International Public Debate Association (IPDA); third place, Persuasive Speech and fourth place, Poetry Interpretation. Terraka Streeter - Fourth place, Informative Speech. Bethune-Cookman: Third place, Best Speaking in limited categories.