PHC students compete in two styles of debate—British Parliamentary and Civic—and have traveled throughout the world to do so. More than any other forensic activity at PHC, Debate teaches students to think classically as they wrestle with, understand, and respond to social, political and cultural ideologies that they may disagree with. Debate provides opportunities for each student to develop their professional and leadership skills; skills they will need to lead successful careers as ambassadors for Christ
Civic debate is a research-based competition providing students with opportunities to contribute policy solutions for a global civic society, and develop professional presentation and leadership skills. Intercollegiate debate tournaments are organized by the Civic Debate Conference and are used as a tool for engagement with leaders on social justice and religious freedom issues, U.S. and European Union issues, and other cutting edge domestic and international issues. PHC students have debated in front of or made presentations to panels of qualified experts, including Ambassadors at the European Union and French Embassies in Washington, DC, and civil rights leaders at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Patrick Henry College students are frequently complimented for their thorough preparation, outstanding presentation skills, and their winsome speaking style.
PHC students earned a top-four spot and an honorable mention award at the second annual Schuman Challenge, hosted by the Delegation of the European Union to the United States.
Debate students at PHC compete in British Parliamentary Debate through the U.S. Universities Debate Association (USUDA). Students compete in teams of two and are given a new resolution to argue 15 minutes before each round. Because each round fields four teams—two representing the government, and two the opposition—students win not just by proving their side to be more correct, but by distinguishing the sophistication and content of their arguments from the other team sharing their side of the resolution.
PHC sent seven students (including five freshman) to a tournament at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y. PHC advanced two teams to the novice semifinal round, and eventually one team to the novice final round. Read the rest of the story in the student newspaper.
Competitive debate motivates students to exceed the bare minimum of knowledge, and builds the ability to articulate and defend a position against repeated attacks. Because of its rigorous and effective approach to education, forensics at PHC are not extra-curricular but co-curricular, a fully-recognized and vital element of PHC Academics.