Carroll College Talking Saints Host 300 High School Debaters

High School Debate Tournament - Upper Campus Center

HELENA – High school students in suits swarmed the Carroll campus on December 1-2, to compete in the Carroll Tournament of Champions debate tournament.

High Montana high schools of all sizes attended – from Bozeman to Conrad to Huntley Project – bringing nearly 300 visitors, who filled more than 50 classrooms for the two-day event.

Carroll hosted the debate events, while Capital High and East Helena High hosted the speech and drama events in the Valley of Gold tournament.

“We owe the high school students of Montana a classy tournament to honor their hard work,” said Brent Northup, coach of the Talking Saints. “The real joy was seeing so many of the state’s smaller schools here to join the larger AA schools. They stretched from Flathead to Fergus.”

Hosting the huge event “took a village” said Northup. Hundreds of Carroll students, staff, and faculty served as judges.

“Our team had finals in 10 days, but they worked late into the nights before the event, and were judging and helping out all weekend. And they were cheerful. Such unselfish, nice people. And let’s not forget the future nurses who showed up in droves. Scrub power!”

The weekend featured a College Fair, with admissions and professors setting up tables to talk to students about Carroll.

“Alex of admissions and Jeremy of political science were charming, of course, but the hit of the fair was the golden retriever from Anthrozoo,” said Northup. “Debaters were lined up to pet the beautiful pup. I think maybe we need to tweak our admissions slogan: For the adventure – and the dogs.”

Aurora Salinas, a Butte High senior, attended the event.

“From the judges to the awards ceremony, Carroll College does it the best,” said Salinas. “In other tournaments, I'm used to maybe having one judge take notes. This tournament was completely different. Judges asked questions and took notes, and overall just seemed really engaged with the debate. It was refreshing.”

Competing meant Salinas got a close-up view of one of the colleges on her shortlist.

“Of course, being on campus is a huge plus,” she said. “It's a beautiful area to debate in.”

One of the highlights for Salinas was the concluding awards ceremony.

“Without seeming childish, the awards are super sick,” she said. “It is super nice that at awards those who placed were announced, but so were those who were so close to breaking. And the ugly tie contest is always a highlight. Super great tournament!”Twenty-eight