Accounting major wins state debate title

Feb 2, 2023 | Business, Impact

Note: This article appeared in the Lincoln Parish Journal on Feb. 2, 2023. 

Louisiana Tech’s Debate Team repeated its success at last year’s state tournament and are the 2023 Louisiana State Champions.

The competed at the Southern Forensics Championship recently at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. This tournament is the state competition for Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi.

In addition to being the Louisiana State Champions, the following members of the team also won individual state titles: Kailee Carter, senior accounting major, is the junior varsity state champion and junior varsity speaking state champion. Anthony Copeland, senior engineering major, is the informative speaking state champion. Ashley Owens, volunteer, is the professional state champion.

“Being a state champion is still so surreal,” Carter said. “I never saw myself getting to this point in such a short amount of time. I could not have done this without my team, my coach and my cheering section back at home.

“Debate to me is community, friendship, mentorship, but most importantly, debate is a voice. I used to feel like my voice wasn’t important or didn’t want to be heard and debate has taught me how to embrace my voice. Not only am I now proud of my voice, but I love how I can use it to impact people. Debate has changed my life.”

Additionally, Madison Plaisance, a senior communication major, placed in the top 16 for the entire tournament in the novice division, and Carter in the top eight in junior varsity.

The points generated by all of the remaining team members help to secure the team’s position as the Louisiana State Championship: Nate Goldstein, senior communication major; Alex Gibson, sophomore architecture major; Kaitlynn Sweeney, senior political science major; and Kendrick Kruskie, alumni.

Debate coach Megan Smith said she is thrilled with the team’s success.

“This group of extraordinary students works tirelessly on their research, presentation and impromptu speaking skills,” Smith said. “They showed up ready to showcase their talents and represented Louisiana Tech University in the best possible way. Last year’s state title was the first time we had won the title in a while. This year’s title helps establish Louisiana Tech Debate as a competitive force in our state and beyond.”

Carter echoed Smith’s sentiments, saying that she believes Tech’s debate team will continue to rise.

“I could not say enough about my team,” Carter said. “Our coach prepares us so well. She teaches us not only to be good debaters, but also to be good people. I am so proud and impressed by all of my teammates. I’ve been on the team less than two years, and the growth I have seen is amazing.”