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Friday, February 13, 2009

42nd Mundt Debate Tournament in Madison; Local Blog Sponsors New Award

The 42nd Karl E. Mundt Debate Tournament takes place here in Madison this weekend. A former student of mine, Brett Kearin, is running the tournament. I'll be there judging both days and enjoying a couple dozen vigorous speeches by some of the smartest students in South Dakota.

If you have some time, drop by the high school and enjoy this celebration of brains and the First Amendment. It might be your last chance to do so here in Madison: I've heard nothing to suggest that Madison High School has changed its mind about bailing out of its long-standing support for the Mundt Tournament. If Madison High School abandons its annual honoring of its most famous graduate, we may have a hard time finding the space to hold a contest worthy of the last regular season debate contest in South Dakota.

But I'm not giving up. The Madison High School debate team and administration, along with the community at large, can find a way to preserve this august educational event. I'm so confident we can find a way to keep the Mundt Tournament alive that I'm shaking out the tips jar (there it is, over in the left sidebar, just waiting for your contribution!) to sponsor a new award, the Madville Mundtster award, to celebrate student career achievement at the Mundt Tournament. Here's my description of the award from the tournament program:

Madison has a long tradition of participation in and support for speech activities in South Dakota. Madison High School is Charter Member #62 of the National Forensic League and has maintained that membership without interruption for 82 years.

That forensic tradition extends even further back to Karl Mundt's career as an outstanding Madison High School debater in the 1910s. Mundt followed up that auspicious beginning with service to speech activities spanning six decades as a teacher, a coach, and a co-founder and president of the National Forensic League. Since the Senator's death, the Karl E. Mundt Foundation has continued his legacy, supporting this tournament, the Mundt/Dakota Invitational in October, and the National Student Congress, among other worthy projects.

The forensic tradition of Madison and Mundt has always stood for free speech, vigorous public debate, and civic engagement. To honor that tradition, the Madville Times has established the Madville Mundtster Award. This award goes to the graduating senior who, in four years of competition at the Mundt Tournament, has earned more NFL points here in Madison than any other Mundt competitor.

The Madville Times welcomes all Mundtsters -- interpers, orators, extempers, and debaters -- to Madison and congratulates you all on your forensic efforts and achievements. May you all continue to embody the Mundt tradition by serving your communities with your talents of speech and intellect.

Cory Allen Heidelberger
Madison HS Debate, 1989
Editor in Chief, Madville Times

See you at Mundt this weekend... and next year!


  1. I think petitions are now available at the high school business office for the next school board term. Hawkes, Hegg Tucek coming up? Might be a smart way to protect programs like Mundt Debate. At least encourage others to get involved with school.

  2. Can we send a check to you for the award? Having had kids win scholarships, I can tell you how great these are, not only for the monetary value but also for pride in being rewarded for hard work.

  3. The term "forensic" seems to me a more crime scene investigation word then having anything to do with debate.

  4. forensic: from the Latin forensis, meaning public, from forum.

    Anon 10:12: Wow! Thanks for the offer! My award is just a plaque this year, but we could certainly start building an endowment fund for future contests. If you'd like to support scholarships right now, talk to Chris Giles at the DSU Foundation: they are sponsoring DSU scholarship awards for the winners of each varsity event (that's 15 students!).

  5. Another great gesture CAH - you truely are a great member of the SD forensics community.

    Look forward to seeing you later today.

  6. Resolved: that all right wingnuts be required to actively participate in civil discussion and debate of the merits of public issues whereby they must argue both sides of the issue during the course of the day. http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/ .

    My wife works in a government office. The calls they field from the right wingnut public, mirror and are sometimes more inflammatory than Adkisson's writing.


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