Wiley Debate Team Keeps Eyes On Prize, Claims National Championship


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(Marshall, Texas)  The  Melvin B. Tolson/Denzel Washington Forensics Society, also known as  The Great Debaters of Wiley College, has won the Overall Sweepstakes Championship and IndividualEvents Sweepstakes Championship at the 103rd Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament, which was held March 16-20 at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. Wiley’s team competed against 86 schools with a total of 2,400 entries to emerge as champions.

The team arrived at the tournament as the 2014 Overall Sweepstakes Champions, and now has now twice claimed this national title. Similarly to the humility these achievers displayed after their first win in 2014, the team and its debate coach, Christopher Medina, paid homage to Dr. Melvin B. Tolson( the highly regarded English professor and debate coach) and his Wiley College Debaters of the early 1900s, who despite having traveled the country competing in debates and compiling an almost perfect record of winning, were not allowed to compete in the prestigious Pi Kappa Delta Tournament.

Dr. Tolson and his teams’ accomplishments were the subject of the 2007 movie “The Great Debaters,” which was directed by actor Denzel Washington, who also starred in the film as Tolson.  “We stand on the shoulders of greatness,” said Medina

In related news, the Texas Historical Commission has awarded Wiley College a historical marker in recognition of the achievements of Professor Tolson. A ceremony to officially unveil the marker was held Friday on Wiley’s campus.

Wiley’s debate team is expected to arrive back to campus late Monday evening, where the Wiley College campus community and friends of the College will greet and congratulate the team on its achievements.


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