Speech and debate team wins at national tournament

The Tyler Junior College speech and debate team returned victorious – and national champions – from the Phi Rho Pi community college national competition held April 4-10 in Costa Mesa, California.

The team is under the direction of M’Liss Hindman, TJC speech professor. Assistant director is Joan Andrews, TJC speech professor.

“We took eight students to this tournament, which had 69 community colleges from across the country in attendance, and all of our students came back winners,” Hindman said. “With 10 events advancing, we had a near-TJC record of the number of events that advanced to semifinals.”

The team will perform some of their award-winning presentations at their annual Forensics Showcase, set 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 14, in Jean Browne Theatre on the TJC main campus. The event will last about an hour. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

As a team, TJC won:

National Championship in Overall Sweepstakes

Gold • Individual Events Sweepstakes

Silver • Debate Sweepstakes

In individual events:

  • Omari Hawkins, of Grand Prairie, earned silver in dramatic interpretation and bronze in prose interpretation
  • Skyler Walker of Athens earned bronze in prose interpretation
  • Clay Wood of Tyler earned bronze in impromptu speaking and international public debate
  • Gavin Downing of Lindale and Dillon Hughes of Princeton earned bronze in parliamentary debate
  • Jacob Savage of Van and Skyler Walker earned bronze in parliamentary debate
  • Savage earned bronze in dramatic interpretation and extemporaneous speaking
  • Tyler Cole of Whitehouse earned bronze in extemporaneous speaking
  • Earlyssa Cooper of Houston won the slam poetry event in the talent show
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