The Amarillo Pioneer

Amarillo's only free online newspaper. Established in 2016, we work to bring you local news that is unbiased and honest.


UK Natives to Debate at West Texas A&M

"Members of the West Texas A&M University forensics team will partner with two national champions from the United Kingdom (UK) at noon Tuesday, Oct. 10 at the Jack B. Kelley Student Center’s Legacy Hall to debate the implementation of a policy to restrict population growth among refugees.

WTAMU’s Communication department and the Gamma Phi chapter of Lambda Pi Eta National Communication Honor Society will host Richard Hunter of Northern Ireland and Rebecca Howarth of Birmingham, England. The UK debaters will be partnered with WTAMU forensics team members Josiah Atkinson and Ryan Clark.

Hunter began debating competitively in his home country of Northen Ireland at a very young age, reaching the finals of Northern Ireland Schools Debating Competition. He attended the University of St. Andrews, where he is pursuing a degree in modern history. While at St. Andrews he has participated in dozens of competitions all over the UK and Europe. His debating achievements include reaching the finals of the Scottish leg of the John Smith Memorial Mace in 2017 as well as acting as an adjudicator at the European University Debating Championships in 2016 and 2017.

Howarth studied economics with German at the University of Birmingham, where she graduated in 2015. Her key debating achievements include reaching the Quarter Finals of the European University Debating Championships in Vienna, Austria. Between 2012 and 2015 she won five and qualified for the finals of approximately 14 national and international competitions. While studying abroad in Berlin, Howarth reached the finals of the “German as a foreign language” category of the German National Debating Championships.

Atkinson graduated from West Hardin High School in Saratoga. He is a first-year student at WTAMU majoring in communication. Atkinson has won state championships in congressional debate, Lincoln-Douglas and international extemporaneous.

Clark graduated from River Road High School in Amarillo as salutatorian of the class of 2017. He was the captain of the speech and debate team and participated in cross-examination, congressional and persuasive speaking.      

The Oct. 10 debate features parliamentary style, which encourages members of the audience to interact with the arguments being claimed by the debaters. Chairs will be set up in configuration allowing a center aisle so audience members will be able to move according to whether they agree or oppose the arguments. Audience members will be encouraged to call out “hear, hear” when they agree with an argument or “for shame” when they disagree. At the end of the debate, a division of the house will take place where the audience will choose the winning team.   

The UK tour of the United States tour is coordinated by the Committee on Debate and Discussion of the National Communication Association. WTAMU is one of only two Texas universities selected for the 2017 tour. For more information about the UK debaters, please contact Connie McKee at 806-651-2415 or Trudy Hanson, 806-651-2800."

-West Texas A&M University

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