COM student Sonia Hernandez speaks during the COM Duck Debates tournament.

Debating sports, politics, pop culture and debate itself, students from four colleges participated in COM’s Duck Debates, the first tournament hosted by COM. During the two-day tournament, students from College of the Mainland, Stephen F. Austin State University, Louisiana College, East Texas Baptist University participated in both varsity and novice levels of debate.

COM student Sonia Hernandez medaled as the fourth-best varsity speaker. COM novice debaters Kyle DeVasier and Taryn Clark were ranked as the seventh and eighth-best novice speakers, respectively.

“Receiving a fourth place speaking award was extremely exciting for me,” said Hernandez. “It was the first tournament where I competed at the varsity level, and it was the first speaking award of my debate career.”

Students discussed topics ranging from Adele’s future in music to whether senior adults should have to retest to maintain their driver’s licenses.

“I love to argue,” said DeVasier. “When you learn how to argue, it can be fun and productive as long as you do it with respect and courtesy. Debating involves a lot of critical thinking and listening skills.”
Students from all participating colleges, including more than 30 COM students, helped judge the many rounds of debates covering more than 75 topics.
“It was exhausting but a lot of fun,” said Dr. Nakia Welch, debate tournament director and COM speech professor. “I’m already looking forward to next year.”
The COM Debate Team is open to all COM students, regardless of level of prior experience in public speaking or debate. The team also recently traveled to East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas, to compete in ETBU’s first hosted debate tournament.

“I am looking forward to competing at other debate tournaments throughout the season,” said Hernandez.