Sixth Consecutive Win for Webster at Study Break Debate Tournament

| December 4, 2012

Webster won the overall sweepstakes award for the fourth consecutive year at the Study Break Debate Tournament, earning a number of awards including the novice championship.

Josh Ritchey and Trisha Thompson, who won the novice division at the Study Break Debate Tournament 2012.

Webster’s Josh Ritchey and Trisha Thompson won the novice division at the 2012 Study Break Debate Tournament.

The Webster University Forensic and Debate program hosted the 26th annual Study Break Debate Tournament on Dec. 1. The tournament offers a competitive environment in which experienced debaters can hone their skills as critics and students new to debate can receive more intensive instruction. Gina Jensen, Webster’s assistant director of Forensics and Adjunct Professor, co-directed the tournament with director of Forensics, Scott Jensen.

Six schools from four states participated, creating 25 novice and junior debate teams. Webster’s own young debaters, along with the students enrolled in the Introduction to Political Argumentation and Debate course, also competed in the day-long event. Webster won the overall sweepstakes award for the fourth consecutive year, additionally capturing a second win in the novice division.

Webster students excelled, earning a number of awards including the novice championship, won by Joshua Ritchey, a senior speech communication studies major and Trisha Thompson, a senior psychology major.

Other Webster teams earning awards:

6th place—Damian Scott and Kate Tary
7th place—Julie Bonk and Ronnie Hampton
9th place—Andre Diamant and Maraani Kamphorst
11th place—Julia Kalkbrenner and Debbie Zamora

Webster students earning individual speaking awards:

2nd place—Josh Ritchey
6th place—Brianna Jones
9th place—Julie Bonk
15th place—Damian Scott
16th place—Ally Nikolaus
19th place—Farnaz Eslami
20th place—Maraani Kamphorst
21st place—Kate Tary

Taylor Roberson also placed ninth in the individual speaking competition among the advanced junior debaters at the tournament.

Past, Present & Future of the Study Break Debate Tournament

Webster’s forensic staff presented Study Break Debate Tournament co-founder Preston with a plaque acknowledging his efforts to build speech, debate, and collegiate opportunities St. Louis city high school students.

The tournament originated 26 years ago, hosted  at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, when Jensen teamed with former UM-St. Louis professor C. Thomas Preston, Jr. to create a semester-ending tournament opportunity for debate classes and inexperienced tournament teams.

This year’s tournament was special in that Preston brought his team to St. Louis from Georgia’s Gainesville State College. Webster’s forensic staff presented Preston with a plaque acknowledging his efforts to build speech, debate, and collegiate opportunities for students in St. Louis city high schools.

Two of these initiatives are now hosted and directed by Webster’s forensic and debate program. The Study Break Debate Tournament is hosted annually on the first Saturday of December. The Gateway Mock Trial Institute is hosted each summer at Webster’s downtown campus. Partnering with the St. Louis Internship Program and the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, the mock trial program invites high school students enrolled in the St. Louis Internship Program to learn skills and concepts in the areas of law, speech, and debate as part of a competitive two-week camp. Webster students and alumni serve as instructors during this two-week program.

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