KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- Parliamentary debate is not the usual event for Matt Casas and Anthony Joseph. They are not normally even debate partners. In fact, they have only debated together once in the last year – the Phi Rho Pi Community College National Tournament in 2014. They won gold in the Parliamentary Debate Division at that tournament.
So when they entered the 2015 National Parliamentary Debate Association National Tournament, hosted by KCKCC, they had no expectations that they would even make it into the elimination rounds, let alone win the whole tournament.
They were wrong. Casas and Anthony not only became the first team from a community college to make it to the final round of the NPDA National Tournament, they won in a close 5-4 decision against Southern Illinois University, whose team won the tournament in 2014.
“We were not sure we could adapt our style of speaking as much as this tournament was going to require,” Casas said. “This was our first parliamentary debate tournament this season and only our second ever. We had to believe in ourselves to be successful.”
More than 155 teams from 51 colleges and universities attended the NPDA National Tournament, which started March 14. Those schools included William Jewell, Washburn University, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Central Missouri, Missouri Western State University, Lewis and Clark College, Northwest College, Abilene Christian, University of Utah, Lower Columbia College, University of Oregon, University of Washington and Texas Tech, among others.
Parliamentary debate is an extemporaneous, policy-orientated debate. Teams consist of two people – one team represents the government or affirms the resolution while the second team represents the opposition. While students are presenting arguments supporting their position, they must also refute the argument of the other team. Teams are only given 15 minutes to prepare before the round begins.
In addition to Casas and Joseph, the KCKCC team of Alex Glanzman and John Williams made it to the elimination rounds. However, they lost to Oregon before making it to the top 16. KCKCC placed first among all community colleges in the tournament and eighth overall. Joseph placed 14th and Casas 15th in the Top Speaker Awards.
“I think it was our ability to listen and adapt our ways quickly that helped us,” Joseph said of their tournament success. “The final round was really competitive. Both teams really showed why we were in the finals.”
Darren Elliott, KCKCC Debate Coach, said having a team in the finals was exciting, especially since it was being hosted by the community college. He said it was not something he ever thought about because there were so many rounds of debates to get through before finals became a realization.
“This team works really hard,” he said. “They have the desire to prove themselves and to make people take them seriously.”
Elliott said the tournament would not have been successful without the cooperation from the entire KCKCC campus.
He said from KCKCC President Dr. Doris Givens and other administrators, faculty and staff to Campus Police, Information Services and Buildings and Grounds, he said everyone came together to make this an enjoyable experience.
“It was amazing how everyone came together and were behind us to pull this off,” he said. “It was a lot of work and a lot of fun. I think it went very well.”
Next up for Casas and Joseph is the CEDA National Tournament, which starts Thursday at Wichita State University. The tournament is open to any two or four year school. KCKCC has won the National Title in the community college division nine times in the last 11 years.
For more information on the KCKCC Debate program, contact Darren Elliott at 913-288-7295 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.