SC&I’s Teaching Instructor and Debate Coach Matthew Maddex, who is also Director of Debate for the RU_Debate Union team and for the RU_Speech Society, can celebrate a resounding victory.
One of the teams Maddex coaches, the RU_Debate Union team of Max Albert and Pasha Temkin, recently won Team of the Year (TOTY) for the 2016-17 American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA) year. This is an especially impressive victory, because it’s the first TOTY for Rutgers, and Albert and Pasha are youngest winners in the history of APDA.
The RUDU Facebook group page captured the excitement on the day they won:
"After a nail-biting finale, Max Albert '19 and Pasha Temkin '18 won the Swarthmore tournament this weekend, defeating 2nd and 3rd TOTY in finals and semifinals, respectively. This tournament win, their third this season after Harvard and GW, places them conclusively as the APDA Team of the Year for 2016-2017. This is a historic victory: for Rutgers, this is the first APDA team of the year in the 16 years since the founding of RUDU; and for APDA, they are the youngest TOTY in recorded history. Congratulations to them on an incredible run, and thanks to the The Swarthmore College Amos J. Peaslee Debate Society for running a spectacular tournament."
“This is an amazing result for Max and Pasha,” Maddex said. “They are team leaders who dedicate themselves to the development of the team and to their own argumentative voice. As new members to the team last year they have grown expeditiously and it is a testament to their hard work!”
The next competition for Albert and Temkin will be in the APDA Debate National Championship, which will be hosted here at Rutgers from April 21-23. Albert and Temkin will compete against other teams who qualified to compete in the APDA National Championship. If they win, they will be national champions. Rutgers is sending three debate teams to compete at the APDA National Debate Championship. In total there will 86 teams (not universities) vying for the APDA National Championship.
Maddex, who first became interested in debating in college, said, “I got into debating because of my Argumentation course I took in college from my mentor Gregg Florence. He told me about this team he was reviving and said I should give it a shot. I learned in the class about how to construct arguments and to debate those ideas in front of others - then I fell in love with the activity of college forensics (aka speech and debate) as an undergrad. I became a coach because Gregg helped to open my eyes to a new world and I want to help do the same for students.”
Speaking of the rewards of coaching debate, Maddex said, “I love seeing the students find their VOICE. To talk passionately about issues - but to also see themselves grow and see a change in how they think or debate about issues. SC&I supports the importance of helping to develop students voices through activities that stretch a person beyond the classroom - I am honored to have this position of Director of Debate / Coach.”
Q&I with Pasha Temkin
How do you feel about your win with Max?
It's incredibly exciting--we've worked incredibly hard to get here for the past two years, and being the youngest ever APDA team of the year (as well as one of the few non-Ivy league ones) feels like we've really left our mark. Both of us feel very grateful to Rutgers, our teammates, and particularly those who have been mentors to us: Matt, our coach and Sean Leonard, the former president of the team.
Are you nervous for the APDA National Championship next week or just looking forward to it?
I'm nervous, partially because we want to do well, but mostly because we have to run the whole thing, which is proving to be quite challenging!
How will you prepare for the APDA National Championship?
We're working this week with teammates and friends from other schools, doing practice rounds, preparing our cases and responses to cases of other teams.
Do you plan to carry the debating skills you've acquired at Rutgers into the career you will pursue after graduation in 2018 (what career(s) are you considering?)
I am planning on attending graduate school for Philosophy--if I do, I will carry over the analytical thinking skills that I have learned. If I go into law, my debating career will certainly come in handy in a greater variety of ways.