By Jenny Gregory

 

From left to right: Bryson Enoch, Camden Enoch, Samuel Thomas, Savannah Sears, and Lydia Hammack

(Cleveland)-Truett McConnell University’s (TMU) Debate Team recently finished up a successful first year in
the tournament circuit despite facing unpredictable circumstances.

“We officially started the team fall 2019,” said debate team coach Samuel Thomas. “Debate is a
wonderful tool to sharpen your critical thinking and communication skills. Those skills are
crucial for Christians, whether it’s for professional development or the defense of our faith. I
would argue—and I think many of our professors will agree—that debating skills can help equip
students to more effectively share God’s Word.”

Like most organized groups, the TMU Debate Team faced a challenging first year when the
pandemic closed the campus.

“We traveled to a couple of tournaments last year,” said Thomas, “but our schedule was pretty
much derailed by COVID-19.” Although the shorter season was unexpected, the team was able
to gain valuable debate time through online practice sessions and tournaments.

Thomas says the technology and structure of this semester’s online debates have improved
significantly compared to spring debates at the beginning of the pandemic. “This season has
been unlike any season before it,” Thomas said. “Although the pandemic has changed how we
operate, we still have done well this season.”

At the team’s latest online tournament, sponsored by the University of North Georgia (UNG),
debate team members Lydia Hammack, Camden Enoch, and Bryson Enoch competed in the
novice division, reserved for debaters with less than a year-and-a-half of experience, while

Thomas competed in the pro division, open for coaches, alumni, and graduate students.
Bryson Enoch ranked third in novice, and the team had its first pro division win with Thomas
ranking first.

“It’s incredibly exciting to keep our momentum rolling with this tournament, despite the
difficulties this year,” said Thomas.

“This momentum should carry us into spring semester and set us up for an even more
successful debate team next year,” the coach added.

Anyone interested in the debate team is welcome to attend debate team practice to learn the
basics without committing to a full tournament schedule. Please contact Coach Samuel Thomas
at sthomas2370@truett.edu for more details.