Mississippi College

Debate Team Begins New Season at Mississippi College

September 11, 2013

Mississippi College debate coach Merle Ziegler is giving solid advice to students on the MC team as a new season of verbal sparring begins.

“I try to tell them to read widely and broadly,” says Ziegler, a communication professor. It’s important to keep up with the latest developments around the globe regarding a potential United States response to a dictator in Syria. It’s also critical for debaters to know a great deal about world history, become a student of philosophy, economics and many more topics.

“I like topics that I don’t know about,” says MC varsity debater Alexandra Hendry of Ellisville. “It gives me a chance to research. I’ve even learned to like sports topics.”

An MC junior, Hendry is an English and Christian Studies major who’s a key component of the seven-member MC debate squad this fall. The other varsity debater is senior Stephen Wade, a business administration major from Memphis.

Novice debaters on the Mississippi College squad include junior William Bettis of Ridgeland, plus two freshmen: Hannah Richards of Chattanooga, Tennessee and Andrew Rock of McCalla, Alabama.

Bettis, 20, a business/pre-law major, is learning a great deal just being on the team.

“Debate is a phenomenal avenue to express, evaluate and analyze ideas,” Bettis said. “It tests your knowledge, tries your logic and has a way of tackling pre-conceived notions,” he said.

“The MC debate team is looking forward to a productive year from its returning veterans,” Ziegler said in early September. “My goal is for each returning debater to break into the final rounds of at least 50 percent of the tournaments they enter.”

In addition, the coach challenged first-time debaters to reach the final rounds of at least 25 percent of their tournaments.

MC’s season began September 5 when Hendry and Wade conducted a debate exhibition at the Hinds Community College Raymond campus showcasing the Lincoln/Douglas format. “We have been faithful to President Lincoln’s legacy,” was their topic.

The Mississippi College team travels to three debate tournaments this fall before returning for competition on the Clinton campus December 6-7.

MC debaters are booked for the University of North Georgia September 21-22, Middle Tennessee State University November 1-3, and East Texas Baptist University November 15-16.

“I love the MC debate team because my teammates are people I can respect,” Hendry said. “They are there because they want to be successful and be more informed citizens.”

For additional information on the MC debate team, contact Merle Ziegler at 601.925.3456 or mziegler@mc.edu.

Photo: MC's two varsity debaters, Alex Hendry and Stephen Wade (pictured with Dr. Merle Ziegler) conducted an exhibition debate in the Lincoln/Douglas tradition. They debated the resolution "We have been faithful the Lincoln's legacy."

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