Wilkes University

Team News


September 20, 2014, Wilkes-Barre, PA  - The Wilkes University campus will play host to more than 25 Pennsylvania High Schools when Wilkes continues a long standing tradition of speech and debate tournaments during the Wilkes Invitational Forensics Competition on Saturday, October 25th, 2014.

Wilkes University has a winning tradition in speech and debate events at the collegiate level dating as far back as the 1930’s. Our teams travel throughout the country each year and we have maintained this tradition because of the strong foundation of high school forensics,” states Christine E. Mellon, Director of Forensics at Wilkes University. “This high school tournament is a way for us to support and mentor a new group of students who will lead the way.”

The tournament will offer competitive rounds in 6 speech categories and 4 debate events. Students will have an opportunity to showcase their talents in public speaking, dramatization, literary interpretation and argumentation and debate. Trophies and certificates will be awarded to all of the winners.

As students, we want to give back to the community through service projects and this high school tournament is a great way to reach out to new students,” commented Tom Schmidt, Wilkes debate team president. “We are able to work with the high school students throughout the day and encourage them to stay in speech and debate.”

The community is also invited to observe tournament rounds and they can participate as spectators in the Awards Ceremony held at the end of the day. There will also be community judges in the tournament specializing in the areas of law, communications, and education.

For information regarding registration, competitive categories, and event details, please contact the Wilkes University Forensics Director, Christine Mellon at 570-408-4210 or email Christine.mellon@wilkes.edu.

All registrations will be accepted through the High School coach teams or by contacting Wilkes University directly. 


November 19, 2009 Wilkes-Barre, PA………The Wilkes University Speech and Debate Team has been recognized with awards in the Top 10 categories of forensic division competition this past semester.  Competing in policy debate, oral interpretation and public address events, three students achieved winning records.

The Wilkes University Debate Team participated at Western Connecticut University, November 14th & 15th, at the 3rd largest debate tournament in the country this year. The novice team of David Cook, a sophomore English/Communications major from Wilkes-Barre, PA, and Jeffrey Niemiec, a senior Engineering major from Laflin, achieved a quarterfinal finish out of 62 teams and ranked 5th and 14th respectively in top speaker awards from a field of 124 students. The preceding weekend, the team traveled to Liberty University in Virginia and debated in the semi-final round of competition before losing to James Madison University. Cook achieved 8th Place Speaker honors at this tournament.
Speech tournament wins include First Place Prizes in Informative Speaking in the Southern/Northern Atlantic Forensics Union Tournament at Cedar Crest University and at Seton Hall University for senior Jeffrey Niemiec.  Niemiec was also awarded the coveted Ed Leonard Award from Seton Hall.  This award is given to one student annually who has exhibited passion, leadership and competitive spirit.  "It is one of the most prestigious awards in the forensics field," stated Wilkes coach Christine Mellon.  "We are thrilled for Jeffrey and he is very deserving."  Niemiec also competed at the Cedar Crest Speech Tournament in Allentown and finished in Third Place in Informative Speaking. These wins help to qualify Niemiec for national competition in the spring semester.        
The Wilkes University Debate Team also competed in the West Point National Debate Tournament with two teams. The novice team, comprised of David Cook and Casim Gomez, competed all the way to the Octafinal Round. They emerged with a 4-3 record from a field of 37 teams representing schools throughout the East Coast and were recognized at the Awards Ceremony with a West Point Debate Award. Additionally, Cook, captured an 8th Place Speaker Award, winning from a field of 74 novice competitors and ranking Wilkes University third behind Binghamton and Rochester Universities.
Other competitors include the novice debate team of Annabelle North and Sarah Seman who finished at the West Point Debate Tournament with a 2-4 record for their very first outing and a 2-3 record at the Western Connecticut Tournament.
The Wilkes University Speech and Debate Team travels throughout the country each semester to compete on a national level. They also plan local exhibitions, and are currently planning to host the Harold Cox Collegiate Forensic Tournament this January. 

For more information regarding future tournament events and membership, please contact the Wilkes University Forensics Director, Christine Mellon at 570-408-4210 or email Christine at Christine.Mellon@wilkes.edu.