Two members of The University of Southern Mississippi Forensics Society recently competed at the Worlds Universities Debating Championship in Chennai, India. Seniors Brandon Hersey and Michael Sims, along with coach Frankie Glennis-Watts, left for India on Christmas day and spent over a week in the city of Chennai, India.
Three hundred and forty teams competed, representing more than 60 countries.
“I’m extremely proud of them. They were very competitive and really held their own. They were well-prepared to compete with teams more experienced in this type of debate,” said Glennis-Watts.
Hersey and Sims participated in nine preliminary rounds that determined who would move on to the final rounds of competition. Receiving first place in several preliminary rounds, Hersey and Brandon competed against teams from the United States, as well as other countries.
Hersey, Sims, and Glennis-Watts made new friends, and reconnected with Charlie Morris from the British National Debate Team, against whom they debated last fall. The Golden Eagles’ forensics team connected with a team from Vienna and hopes to plan a Skype debate between the two teams.
Hersey’s and Sims’ preparation for the world-wide debate event began months ago with numerous practices until the team left for India. They debated against other team members at Southern Miss and also competed in various tournaments, workshops and debates.
“We really appreciate the support from the university in making this happen. It has been a benefit for our students, the College of Arts and Letters, and Southern Miss, in making a name for the Forensics Society at an international event. It was truly an honor to accompany Michael and Brandon, and it was an experience we will never forget,” said Glennis-Watts.
While in Chennai, the students and their coach traveled to the second longest beach in the world, visited the high courts, saw Chennai temples, tried new foods and explored several different parts of the city. “It was eye-opening. We hear and see things on the Internet and television, but until you go and experience the culture, you really don’t know what it’s like,” said Glennis-Watts.