Petrels step up for alumna’s debate camp for kids

“It took a village,” said alumna Kathy Bedell Mayo ’89.

This summer, Petrels from throughout the OU community volunteered to help Mayo implement her academic program Camp FDC, a forensics and debate challenge.

The two-week program, held on campus in June, was designed for rising 7th, 8th, and 9th grade boys. The budding debaters learned 20-second “impromptu speaking”; the CERC system [Claim, Evidence, Reasoning, Conclusion] to organize the content of their arguments; how to research to find specific evidence to support their claims; and, how to conduct themselves during a debate, including how to speak, behave, and present themselves during an argument.

It all came together on the last day of the camp with the final debate event.

“The campers spent three days in library sessions with us, researching their debate topics,” said Oglethorpe’s Library Director Eli Arnold ’06. “They were able to take their research, learn how to apply it to their arguments, and then successfully use it in their final presentations. They were actually excited to learn how the different resources were more appropriate for different research questions. I really believe they will use the skills in middle school this fall. I hope their teachers are impressed!”

In addition to Arnold, other Oglethorpe volunteers included Instructional Librarian Alyssa Kowis, Associate Professor of Philosophy Dr. Devon Belcher, Admission student ambassadors Gray Messina and Nicole Felder, and seven members of the Alpha Nu Chapter of Delta Sigma Phi (Alex Glover, Keon Henderson, Bill Lester, Chuck Massie, Nico Plaza, Jackson Reilly, and De’Andre Wilson).

“The debaters were awesome, and so is the Oglethorpe community!” said Mayo.

Camp FDC group

Kathy Mayo contributed to this article.

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