TU Senior Mineo Claims Speech and Debate All-American Award

by Alex Keys
Columnist

As soon as senior Katrina Mineo met Professor Gary Deaton and other members of the speech and debate team at the Student Involvement Fair when she was a first-year, she decided to become part of the group.

This was an easy choice for Mineo, as she had been involved with speech and drama programs since her junior year of high school. However, Mineo never seriously considered joining the debate side of the team.

All that changed during her fourth term at Transylvania. It was then that a member of the team needed a partner for a debate tournament. Mineo accepted the challenge.

“I was chicken before then,” Mineo said. “I’m not very conflict-oriented.”

At this year’s Pi Kappa Delta national tournament, Mineo and the rest of Transy’s forensics team competed hard and performed well without sacrificing their individuality or creative spirit.

Through its own fundraising efforts, as well as huge amounts of support from the Student Government Association, Dean William Pollard’s office and the department of athletics, the team made the trip to Portland, Ore. The tournament was held at Mount Hood Community College.

“(Hosting the tournament at Mount Hood was) a new milestone in Pi Kappa Delta history,” Mineo said, “which is neat because we are trying to raise involvement of community colleges.”

In terms of total points earned, Transylvania’s speech and debate team finished 29th out of almost 90 participating schools. The teams they outscored included many schools with much larger programs, such as Muskingum University and Texas Agricultural and Mechanical University.

“(This was) the most successful performance we have had at a national tournament as a squad,” said Deaton.

In addition, Transy was well represented in the top 30 finalists for Pi Kappa Delta’s All-American Award. Chosen every other year during the Pi Kappa Delta convention, the All-American Award recognizes students for their academic excellence, team involvement, community service and forensics success.

Transylvania students among the finalists included Mineo, her sister Raven Mineo and Brian Powell. Raven Mineo and Powell are also seniors. During the awards ceremony, Katrina Mineo was honored as an All-American.

“This was the second consecutive time that we’ve had an All-American,” said Deaton.

When reflecting upon the team’s success, Mineo is very thankful for their coaches: Deaton, Clint Jones and Leigh Ann Jordan. Among her favorite qualities of the team is the manner in which the students are encouraged to apply their creativity and liberal-arts-inspired attitude to forensics.

“We recognize that other schools’ models are successful,” Katrina Mineo said. “But we make a conscious decision not to go in that direction.”

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