Anderson University’s debate team has implemented a new system that gives high school students a chance to earn dual credit by competing with the team.
Terri Gibson teaches the debate practicum at AU, coaches the team, and travels with them to their three tournaments each semester. She also teaches full time at Indianapolis Public Schools, which led to the dual-enrollment opportunity for her high school students.
“I thought it would be nice if some of my high school kids could compete in collegiate debates,” said Gibson. “We have space for four dually enrolled students on the team. I enrolled a gentleman from my high school last year and he ended up taking third place at nationals.”
[Photo: High school student Jamall Heath holds his third-place trophy after a debate competition.]
The student she spoke of is Jamall Heath. Gibson was Heath’s teacher for eight years and became his bridge to the debate team. Heath now has his mind set on becoming a lawyer and said he will always remain appreciative of Gibson’s mentoring.
“She has done more for me than anybody in my whole life," said Heath. "She’s the reason I am where I am right now. She goes further to help kids than any teacher I have ever known.”
The debate team competes in three tournaments each semester. This year the teams will be debating the topic of nuclear technology.
Competitions take place across the country — from Anderson to Bob Jones University in South Carolina. The AU team recently hosted a tournament on campus during Homecoming weekend. Seven schools participated with a total of 56 debaters.
“I just want people to know that the team exists,” said Gibson. “Debate competition gives you research and public speaking skills. If you’re going to be an attorney or teacher, I would highly suggest taking the debate class. It makes you look critically at both sides of an issue and that’s a really unique skill to have. It will bode well for you later on in life and you’ll be prepared for whatever comes at you.”
— Jonathon Hosea is a sophomore from New Castle, Ind., majoring in Communication Arts. Hosea is an associate with Fifth Street Communications, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.