Southeast student debate team declared national champions

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The debate team of Southeast Missouri State University has been declared the champions of the 2016 National Education Debate Association's National Debate Tournament.

Three teams represented the University in the competition's novice crossfire division at Fullerton College in California, and all three teams finished within the division's top five positions, earning first, second, and fifth places.

The topic up for debate in the competition was whether or not the United States federal government should significantly increase minimum wage in the nation.

Bolingbrook, IL's Gregory Johnson, who was awarded the title of top speaker in the competition, made his way to the finals with a preliminary record of 6-0.

Jo Nell Cougill, of Jackson, and Collin Ritter, of Advance, made it to the semi-finals against a team from Ball State University with a final preliminary record of 4-2.

And Wildwood, MO's Grace Lester, along with St. Charles's Jordan keel, finished in fifth place overall and made it to the quart-finals.

According to the debate team's faculty advisor, Avery Henry, the National Education Debate Association recently expanded to allow more universities to compete in the tournament, making SEMO's victory all the more impressive.

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