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Tech students debate way to India

January 21, 2014

 

Ben Markway and Sam Hathorn traveled to Chennai, India, to compete in the World Championship of Debate tournament over break. – Submitted photo

Ben Markway and Sam Hathorn traveled to Chennai, India, to compete in the World Championship of Debate tournament over break. – Submitted photo

Austin Vining
Contributing Editor

 

Two Louisiana Tech students found themselves nearly 10,000 miles away from home over winter break by arguing.

The Tech debate team sent Ben Markway and Sam Hathorn to Chennai, India, to participate in the World Championship of Debate.

 

“The competition was held in India this year where some of the best debaters in the world come together to compete,” said Shane Puckett, Tech debate coach and speech communication instructor. “All of the debates are held in English, and there’s anywhere from 400-700 teams from universities all around the world.”

 

Tech was allowed to send two debate members to the tournament as a result of the team’s continued success over the past few years, he said.

 

The topics range from philosophical principles to current events, he said.

 

Markway, a senior accounting major and concurrent business administration graduate student, said they were the first team from Louisiana to go in the 34-year history of the tournament.

 

“It says a lot about Louisiana Tech debate,” he said.

 

Hathorn, a sophomore education major, said they had to change their practice regimens in order to prepare for the tournament.

 

“We got together twice a week after debate practice and did everything from reading newspapers to practicing actual rounds,” he said. “In this style of debate, you get the topic 15 minutes before the round and the topic could be on anything. During practices you can watch finals from previous tournaments.”

 

Hathorn said they had to do a lot of fundraising to get to India.

 

“We sold a couple thousand chocolate bars and got donations from various sponsors,” he said.

 

Puckett said the two students’ passion for debate is incredible.

 

“Some of the trip itself came out of their own pockets,” he said. “That was a testament to not only their argument tenacity, but also their pursuit for academic excellence.”

 

Markway said going to India was the trip of a lifetime.

 

“It was great to be involved in cultural exchange,” he said. “It was good to meet people from universities from all around the world.”

 

Hathorn said debate has really helped him grow and has given him a feeling of belonging.

 

“You have to know a lot, you have to be able to speak, and you have to travel, and those are three very beautiful things in life,” he said.

 

Email comments to acv001@latech.edu.

 

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