State speech, debate tournament heading to ENMU

Tony Parra

Young public speakers from across the state will flock to Eastern New Mexico University for the 2004 New Mexico State High School Speech Tournament from Thursday through Saturday.
“This gives students the opportunity to learn more about Eastern and about us,” Dr. Anthony Schroeder said. “Judges can see the talents students have, their ability to work with others, quality of their performance and dedication.”
Registration will take place at the College of Business (COB) building in room 102 around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday. The contests vary from debate, student congress, interpretative reading and public speaking. Officials from the speech tournament will use classrooms in buildings throughout ENMU’s campus from the Greyhound Arena to the College of Business to the Jack Williamson Liberal Arts building, Schroeder said.
According to Schroeder, there will be over 300 students from 30 high schools in New Mexico participating in the competitions. Schroeder said ENMU has hosted the event for 25 years, more than any other institution in the state of New Mexico.
There are eight students on the Portales speech and debate team: Marley Armstrong, Charles Britton, Maranda Brown, Jason Dictson, Falan Duran, Julianna Jaramillo, Heather Nicholes and Hillary Reeves.
Portales Speech and Debate coach Martha Crane said four of the students are in their second year of competing.
“We have some young debaters who participated in speech and debate for the first time this year,” Crane said. “They picked up on it fast and it was a lot of hard work for them. It’s (state tournament) really intense and it’s important from the student’s point of view.”
Crane said last year Robert Crow took second place in the U.S. Extemporaneous category for PHS. Crow is now a freshman at ENMU.
“Marley and Charles have done an excellent job of picking up debates,” Crane said. “They have been able to use their critical thinking skills well. It amazes me how far they have come along.”
Armstrong and Britton will be in the Lincoln-Douglas debate contest, as well as other individual competitions.
Schroeder said they can view student’s public speaking abilities, but cautioned that it doesn’t mean all of the students are going to major in speech. He said they will be pursuing majors in everything.
“They learn skills that will stay with them for life, regardless of what they do,” Crane said. “It’s really important to develop public speaking skills.”
ENMU is looking for volunteers to judge the events. A training session will be held at 7 p.m. tonight in the COB, room 156. For more information call, 562-2741 or 562-2114.