Cory Howard Wins National Championship for VSU Debate

| March 30, 2017

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta State University Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team’s Cory Howard won top honors at the Novice National Forensic Association Championship, held March 10-12 at University of West Florida in Pensacola.

“I wanted to get the win for VSU,” said the Valdosta native who expects to graduate in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in communication. “So, I gave it everything I had.”

Howard competed in the Novice Division of the International Public Debate Association (IPDA) — one-on-one format — portion of the Novice National Forensic Association Championship. He competed in eight rounds and won seven of them.

“In the final round, I had a roller coaster of emotions,” he said. “I was excited to be there but was also trying to stay focused.”

His final opponent was Roha Nehas from College of DuPage in Glen Elyn, Ill. His topic put him on the affirmative side of “the new travel ban is still a Muslim ban.”

Howard argued that while the ban allows refugees who are facing religious persecution into the United States, it excludes those from predominantly Muslim countries. He then took his argument one step further, to say that this is how the ban blocks Muslims who are seeking refuge.

“Roha was a strong opponent,” he said. “I think the final round was a really good round.”

Howard joined VSU’s Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team in the fall of 2015 after learning he could channel his lifelong love of arguing into a more productive activity.

“Debate forces you to at least see both sides of an argument,” he said. “You don’t have to necessarily agree with both sides, but you have to understand them to be a successful debater.”

Howard plans to attend law school and become a civil rights defense attorney.

“The more informed I am about the issues we cover in debate, the more empathetic I can be to people who are going through struggles,” he said. “That will help me, as an attorney, represent people much better.”

Howard earned the top honors at the Novice National Forensic Association Championship for the third year in a row. He serves as a justice for VSU’s Student Government Association Judicial Council and is a member of Pi Kappa Delta, a national collegiate forensic honors society.

Howard is the son of Mike Howard and Jenny Saliba of Valdosta.


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