The Louisiana Tech University Debate Team re the 2023 Louisiana State Champions. Repeating its success at last year’s state tournament, the LTU team competed at the Southern Forensics Championship held at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. This tournament is the state competition for Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
In addition to being the Louisiana State Champions, the following members of the team also won individual state titles: Kailee Carter of Quitman, senior accounting major, is the junior varsity state champion and junior varsity speaking state champion. Anthony Copeland, senior engineering major, is the informative speaking state champion. Ashley Owens, volunteer, is the professional state champion.
“Being a state champion is still so surreal,” Carter said. “I never saw myself getting to this point in such a short amount of time. I could not have done this without my team, my coach, and my cheering section back at home. Debate to me is community, friendship, and mentorship, but most importantly, debate is a voice. I used to feel like my voice wasn’t important or didn’t want to be heard and debate has taught me how to embrace my voice. Not only am I now proud of my voice, but I love how I can use it to impact people. The debate has changed my life.”
One member of the “cheering section” is Kailee’s father and Quitman High School Principal Billy Carter.
“We are so very proud of Kailee,” said Carter. “What she has achieved in such a short period is amazing and a testament to her desire to be the best,” said Carter.
A chip off the “ole block”?
“Oh no, I can’t take any of the credit,” deadpanned Carter. “I can’t win debates with any of my girls.”
Debate coach Megan Smith said she is thrilled with the team’s success.
“This group of extraordinary students works tirelessly on their research, presentation, and impromptu speaking skills,” Smith said. “They showed up ready to showcase their talents and represented Louisiana Tech University in the best possible way. Last year’s state title was the first time we had won the title in a while. This year’s title helps establish Louisiana Tech Debate as a competitive force in our state and beyond.”
Carter echoed Smith’s sentiments, saying that she believes Tech’s debate team will continue to rise.
“I could not say enough about my team,” Carter said. “Our coach prepares us so well. She teaches us not only to be good debaters but also to be good people. I am so proud and impressed by all of my teammates. I’ve been on the team less than two years, and the growth I have seen is amazing.”
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