A DeKalb County student at Carson- Newman College is a member of the National Championship Forensic Speech and Debate team.
Luke Willoughby said that the team, of which he is a member, competes across the country and has earned many special honors. "I've been at Carson Newman for the past two years. I'm a double major in political science and financial economics with a minor in law and policy. I'm very involved on campus. I serve as a student body vice president. I'm one of the youngest they've had since the early 1990's. I'm also involved in the Carson Newman Forensics, which is not the CSI type of forensics, but the speech and debate type of forensics where I've been part of the National Championship team for the past two years," said Willoughby
"The Carson Newman Speech and Debate Team has won the National Championship and individual events for the past two years. At one point in time, I was named the seventh best debater in the nation. Throughout the whole process, we travel the country throughout the year from North Carolina to Los Angeles, California. We have competed in smaller tournaments, such as here in Tennessee to tournaments in Miami, Florida. We usually win most all of them. We travel about ten times a year to ten tournaments. At Carson Newman, we're expected to win at least eight or nine of them but when it comes to the big tournaments such as the state association tournament, which is like our conference tournament, we have won that for the past five years. This coming year the tournament will be held at Tennessee Tech University. As we travel we have a big time and learn a lot and that's what our coach drills in our heads. Its not about winning but building community, having a family environment, and learning how to communicate efficiently for the workforce," said Willoughby
"You compete as an individual. Its sort of like the golf team. Everyone is competing with their own individual score but at the end of the day everything is sort of combined. That's sort of how forensics works. You are allowed to compete in a certain number of events. I do a persuasive speech each year, an after dinner speech in which you examine an idea or topic by the use of humor. I do parliamentary debate which is where you have a partner and you're given fifteen minutes to prepare a brief and then you debate the opposing team. I do impromptu speaking which is where you're given a quotation and then you speak on whether you agree or disagree with it. I also do an extemporaneous speech which is a limited preparation event, like impromptu, where they give you a certain question whether it be a domestic, political, economic, or international topic and then you're given thirty minutes to prepare a speech with the research that you have on your computer. You cannot access the Internet. So its very important to be up to date on current events. I love it. Its something that has helped me as a student and also as a communicator," said Willoughby
Carson-Newman College is a Christian, private, Liberal Arts institution, located in Jefferson City, some 25 miles east of Knoxville.