Welcome to Arkansas State University!

News Article

A-State Student Captures Individual Honors At Debate Tournament


JONESBORO — First-year standout debater Nate Johnson captured the top individual award for Arkansas State University when the debate team competed in the Southern Forensics Speech and Debate Championship recently at John Brown University in Siloam Springs.

Johnson earned the individual International Public Debate Association (IPDA) novice title in the finals on a 5-0 decision. Other notable finishes for A-State include the team of Benton Bajorek and Rachel Bjornestad, who advanced to the finals of team parliamentary debate before falling on a close 2-1 decision. Johnson and Arnelle Jones also advanced to the finals before dropping another close decision.

One other notable freshman accomplishment was the second-place overall speaker award captured by first-year debater Reagan Williams.

“It says a lot about the quality of a program when you have debaters in the finals of three different debate formats in one weekend,” said Dr. Chris Harper, director of the debate team and assistant professor in the Communication Studies program. “We had several first-year debaters who really had a strong showing at the tournament which tells me the Arkansas State debate team is in good hands in the years to come.

“I really can’t say enough about Nate, Arnelle, Haley, Gary and Reagan. For their first year of competition, they have been a really productive and talented group. They really are a joy to work with, very smart and coachable.”

Other members of the A-State team who had a significant impact on the overall tournament award include Samantha Grooms and Lakin Cathey who advanced to out rounds in team IPDA debate Haley Buford, who advanced to out rounds in individual IPDA debate and Gary Newman who advanced to out rounds in IPDA debate making it all the way to the semifinals.

Arkansas State Logo