The Wiley College ‘Great Debaters’ and Morehouse College student forensics teams recently closed out stellar competition seasons, capturing national titles in individual and team debate, and poetry.
Student forensics at Wiley isn’t an ordinary club, and how could it be? Wiley’s ‘Great Debaters’ are a tradition of excellence made globally famous in a film portrayal starring Denzel Washington in 2008. Five years laters, the team has made headlines again, capturing a national title in individual forensics at the National Christian College Forensics Association Tournament in Siloam Springs, AR. last month.
The Great Debaters placed second in combined Overall Team Sweepstakes. The team also made a historic accomplishment by “closing out” the final round of Novice Poetry. A difficult feat to accomplish,
a close out occurs when all finalists are from the same school. Wiley’s debaters earned 35 awards during the tournament, bringing the school’s year-to-date trophy count to 321. Twenty-five schools from 15 states competed in the tournament.
After a dormant period, Morehouse forensics returned to national prominence with three national titles in the 2012-13 academic year. The team won two Pi Kappa Delta titles and a championship at the Novice finals.
“This year’s team versus last year’s team has grown considerably,” said Kenneth Newby ’97, director of the Morehouse College Forensics Program and the team’s coach. “We have largely the same students when it comes to varsity, but they’ve grown. They aren’t the same debaters. They are better.’