Debating the virtues of apple vs. cherry pie and whether Congress should enact a law making voting mandatory, College of the Mainland student Aaron Maxwell triumphed as the top speaker at a recent debate tournament at Lee College.

The COM Debate Team also won the Top Community College Award.

In addition to earning the most points for his speaking ability, Maxwell made it to the final round of the debate, winning second place in the novice division.

During debates, students have 30 minutes to prepare after receiving a topic. They are ranked on argumentation and speaking ability.

“You don’t know what you’re getting into. You can get anything as trivial as cherry pie vs. apple pie or something as large as should Congress abolish the 22nd amendment,” said Maxwell, of Texas City. “It’s using critical thinking and logic.”

A total of 14 colleges from four states competed in the tournament.

“The best part of the tournament is hanging out between the rounds. I made friends from Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. You meet a lot of people from different backgrounds,” said Maxwell.

COM student Harry Hathaway made it to the semifinals, and Kenzie Godeaux and Amylin Hicks made it to the octofinals.

“We debated students from two-year and four-year schools,” said Dr. Cody Smith, COM Debate Team advisor. “Everybody exceeded expectations and a lot of personal goals were met.”

For more information about the COM Debate Team, contact Smith at or 409-933-8211.