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by David Yogi, staff writer

 

This is “For me [the] first time I have ever done this,” said Avery Kremer. It is not as intimidating as I thought [it would be],” she added.
“I’ve been delighted, with more than half the field of debaters being novices,” said Rose Helens-Hart, HPU’s director of debate.
Helens-Hart, organizer of the tournament, plans to make the Downtown Showdown a semiannual event for fall and spring semesters. The new Sea Warrior Debate Society, is in its second year, she explained, and the tournament gives new students a chance “to experience the activity and hopefully pursue debate in future semesters.” This would give students an opportunity, she added, “to apply critical thinking skills and to use knowledge they’ve acquired in their courses outside the classroom.”
Tim Lussier and Mark Brians won the event. Brians said, “It was awesome and really feels good to be the underdogs. [I’ve] got to give glory to God. He blessed me with the gift of speaking.” He added, “It was cool to sit down with the judges afterward. It’s about learning: if you win every round without learning, you miss out on debate.”
Debate, according to Matthew LoPresti, one of eight faculty judges at the tournament, “teaches the students on-the-spot creative and critical-thinking skills which are useful for students no matter what direction their life takes them.”
Helens-Hart said, “I’m delighted to see the faculty provide quality feedback to students on their argumentation and presentation skills. We’ve had faculty from multiple disciplines dedicate their time as judges, and [they] are looking forward to seeing debate grow on the HPU campus.”
Brittney Ynfante, a novice debater said, “I learned some topics I would never have researched, the controversies behind them, and the individual opinions of most of society.”
Laura Difiglio a member of the debate society said the tournament was “a lot of fun. It forced you to research topics that are world and local issues. [Debating] gave me confidence, as the rounds progressed, to get up and speak.

 

 

 

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