Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2015 6:45 pm

Northwest University prides itself in hosting an assortment of strong communities and a spirit of academic excellence. NU’s debate team exemplifies both of those values. A testament to the strength of a close knit community and the rewards of hard work, they have been a shining example of Northwest’s values all across the nation and the world.

NU’s debate team contains competitive debaters who compete in regional, national, and global competitions. The team has represented the university in a variety of tournaments and has won awards all across the nation. You can see the proof of the debate team’s prowess in their trophy case in Fee hall, which is brimming with awards and trophies procured by the team through hard work and determination.

These wins are a testament to the intensive work that goes into being a nationally competitive team. The debaters practice at least twice a week for several hours, honing their skills in delivery and rhetoric. Many of the team members go in with little to no experience, but under the guidance of Professor Witt train and study to become eloquent speakers and powerful debaters. This year the debate team will take their talent to Greece, where they will be competing in a world tournament against debate teams from all over the globe.

Apart from the competition, there is great value in being on the debate team. What is apparent within the team is the genuine care that exists between the members as they helped encourage and critique each other’s performance. A strong sense of comradery binds the team together, and though some friendships in the team go back years, the new members feel just as valued and included. “As cheesy as it sounds, the team just feels like family,” said Marlene Pierce, the debate team captain. “I feel like I could hang out with any of the members outside of debate and be completely comfortable.”

Marlene said that the debate team is a huge part of her life and that the friendships she has built there are lasting. Pierce is even considering teaching debate at a collegiate level, hoping to use her passion and experience to guide the next generation. Lemuel Daher, a second -year debater, said that his time on the team has been influential in his life. “I have grown so much more confident since being on the team,” said Daher. He said that debate has given him a community of people to encourage and grow with him.

The debate team practices every Monday and Wednesday from 3: 45 PM to 6:00 PM, and invite any student to come and join. If you are interested in signing up for a group that will build you up and challenge you to succeed, contact Professor Jacob Witt or team captain Marlene Pierce and experience for yourself a team that promotes healthy community, critical thinking, and the expression of ideas in an ethical and eloquent way.