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27 June 2006

News from Vermont Debate AKA The Voice of Edwin is the weekly newsletter of the Edwin Lawrence Debate Union at the University of Vermont, an endowed co-curricular program which trains students in debating and sponsors national competition and community events. The newsletter is published every Tuesday during the school year and infrequently at other times. Alfred C. Snider is the Director. 802-656-0097 voice, 802-238-8345 mobile, 802-656-4275 fax, email, and web site. To unsubscribe or subscribe to the email version of the newsletter go to .


| David Register | John Hines |

Long ago those of us involved the the LDU learned that there is no such thing as replacing someone when they leave. There is no way of replacing a unique person with unique abilities. This is true of Helen and Justin Morgan Parmett. There is no way to replace them. However, new people will come and they will bring new perspectives and new ideas. Thus it is with the transition how at Huber House.

After a lengthy search staff and students alike are excited about the two new coaches that will be arriving in Burlington in August. David Register will be taking over the lecturer position formerly occupied by Justin and John Hines will be taking over the debate coach position formerly occupied by Helen. Both John and David will also be teaching.

David Register got his BA from Emporia State University in communication studies and has an MA from the University of North Texas also in communication studies. He qualified for the National Debate Tournament three times and reached the elimination rounds at both the NDT and CEDA nationals. Since then he has been coaching at North Texas with great success, and is one of the most respected judges in the nation. LDU students have known him and been judged by him for several years and are very excited to have him in the fold.

John Hines got his BA from the University of North Texas in communication studies, and also like David, has an MA from the same school in the same area. He also served as a coach there. John qualified for the NDT three times, once with a first round at-large bid, and has reached the elimination rounds at the NDT twice and at CEDA nationals three times. He had an outstanding record as a debater at every major national tournament and reached the final round at Harvard in 2000. In 1994 he was the Texas high school state champion. He has been working in the private sector and is excited about the intellectual stimulation implicit in his return to debate. He looks forward to working with younger debaters and being involved in the activism of Vermont.

Other people on the coaching staff include returning coach/judges Colin Kern, Emily Sanders and Greta Lockwood. Brady Fletcher, who graduated in the spring, will also be joining the crew.

These additions are important as fall 2006 is a time of sabbatical for LDU director Snider, who will be in Europe. "I feel confident that the love of my life, the LDU, will be in good hands with this crew, but with modern communications I will be able to have an internet conference with them each week. We are lucky to have such dedicated and skilled people."


The scale of giving for the LDU was higher last year than at any time in the last twenty years, All we can do is be thankful and work hard to be worthy of such support. Individual thank you letters are going out and the next stage of the long-range fundraising efforts are in motion. The newsletter will keep you posted on all of this. However, the next step is....


Alumni participation is essential to mobilize other alumni to support the fundraising rive. The focus of the next efforts will be long-range creation of a companion endowment to support debate at UVM. We need alumni from all decades to step forward and be active in speaking to other alumni and supporters and telling the LDU story and why it needs to be made financially secure in the 21st Century. If you would like to volunteer to serve on this board, please email with your intention.


} 2006 NFL operations staff, from left to right, Brent Hinkle, Ron Steinhorst, Steve Davis, Alfred Snider, Martin Glendinning, Rich Edwards, Tim Fehr, seated, Sarah Snider |

The National Forensic League's national championship speech and debate tournament is the largest academic contest in the world. Even if you divided up speech and debate each of them would be the largest forensics tournament in the world. Over 6000 people gather for six days each June. For the last five years the NFL has looked to Vermont Debate for help in administering this huge event. LDU director Snider has for five years been the Director of Tournament Operations for the event, while in the last four years an LDU alum has also played an important role. Again this year LDU alumna Sarah Jane was involved as a site director, handling the logistics of all debate competitions (over 600 entries).

Jackie Oakes is the data wizard in the NFL national office, and I was able to get some figures from her. Each of these students had to win a district tournament in order to qualify. The USA is divided up into 104 districts. Here are the current entries:
189 policy debate teams (two people each)
222 Lincoln-Douglas debaters
218 public forum debate teams (two people each)
208 International extemporaneous speakers
214 USA extemporaneous speakers
216 dramatic interpretation duos (two people each)
224 dramatic interpretation speakers
212 original oratory speakers
214 humorous interpretation speakers
247 representatives in student congress
189 senators in student congress
920 total schools qualified students for this tournament
1674 judges are entered for all events
8306 judge slots need to be filled

After six preliminary rounds (Monday and Tuesday) some will advance. Everyone else has an opportunity to compete in supplementary and consultation events, for which there are also national championships awarded. Here are the numbers of entrants in these contests from last year:
257 Prose interpretation speakers
233 poetry interpretation speakers
300 extemp commentary speakers
189 expository speakers
370 impromptu speakers
104 storytelling speakers

There is a more detailed description of events at Tuna's website, and here is the address of the various installments chronicling this ten day effort. You will find eight blog installments on the tournament.


The site now features:
-Almost daily journal posts about debate events, important issues, and other debate related news.
-A growing video archive where people can find debates and Flashpoint episodes.
-A growing archive of Reggae Lunch and College of Musical Knowledge radio programs that are legal to download.

Take at look at



Eric Mates 802-233-0205
As promised I am providing you with an update now that I am employed. I am working as a Research Associate at the Nesbitt Research Group in DC doing research for political campaigns. It's a very interesting and engaging job which I got in no small part because of my debate experience. The exact words when I interviewed for the position were along the lines of "I am very impressed by your debate experience because I know that because of all the research you have to do debaters are great researchers." So, I would like to thank you, Helen, and Justin as well as all the other coaches and debaters who helped me get better at research because thanks to you and this
fantastic activity I am gainfully employed.
Additionally, I want to join the masses of folks who are wishing Helen, Justin, and Nakobe well as they leave Vermont. You are fantastic coaches and I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to be coached by you while I was debating at Vermont as well as the chance to judge on panels next to both of you. In addition to being fantastic people you both taught me a lot about debate and for that I am very grateful!
So with that all you folks who I have managed to lose touch with in this short time since graduating do not hesitate to get in touch with me!

Lisa Heller Boragine
Hello everyone, and happy belated Mother's Day to the mom's in the crowd! Yes, Samantha and I recently celebrated our first Mother's Day, too. And perhaps Kevin S. is right when he comments that I must be a media magnet, because the event was chronicled in the Worcester T & G- Taryn Plumb wrote the story! I'm finally getting around to sending it out. Here you go: Sunday, May 14, 2006, Getting to know you - First-time mothers see world in baby's new view [excerpts]
Lisa Boragine, whose daughter, Samantha Fern, is 2 months old, always thought she'd dread those first few atrophying, tumultuous months of motherhood. "What's been a surprise to me is how much I enjoy it," said Ms. Boragine, 36, of Brookfield, an assistant professor at Cape Cod Community College. "I can't believe I'm enjoying changing poopy diapers." Even more gratifying is showing off her daughter, hearing people comment about how cute she is and watching her grow. "I've noticed her hands are bigger, her feet are bigger," Ms. Boragine
said as she held up a tiny foot. Before she became a mother, she said she always thought of Mother's
Day as an over-hyped Hallmark holiday, just an excuse for greeting card companies and niche stores to rake in extra profits. "I was just 'whatever' about it," she said, adding that she feels bad that she never put great thought into buying her mother flowers or extravagant gifts. "I totally appreciate why there is a day for mothers." Motherhood also has given her a clearer sense of what's important, she said. She used to waste so much time on unfounded anxieties and insignificant projects. "I feel like I've given myself permission to slow down," she said. "You really just gotta take the moment and savor it." Ms. Boragine regularly records those emerging personality traits in a
journal that she plans to give to Samantha when she has her own children. Many of her entries are frank, yet poignant. "Well, kid," she wrote on the day after her daughter was born, "about
this time yesterday I was pushing you out." Still, she knows how fast and precious time is, and she hopes to
instill tolerance and self-confidence into her daughter as she watches her grow. Her intent is to offset the negative body image instilled by the media. She also wants her daughter to know that it's OK to be intelligent. "The best thing you can do is to give your kids self-esteem," she said.

Dawn Norris documents the twins she recently had.
We've posted a bunch of photos and a short note to keep you in the loop. We hope you are all well and know we are looking forward to continue to introduce the girls to you at some point in the near future!
Hugs to all, Adam, Dawn, Ainsley, Gabrielle, Honeycomb and Ruby Lou


Matthew Silverman has a blog about his South America trip at

Teresa Hill, now in California:
I just wanted to let you know that I am posting weekly updates on my personal web page. You can sign in once a week to check on my fundraising status, training progress and general well-being. The site can be accessed through the main page:, then click on "Sponsor a Runner," then "Los Angeles," then type in my runner number "4188." Once on the site, you can read my personal message/weekly update, see how far I've run to date, how much I've raised for AIDS Project Los Angeles and, if you've donated, your name scrolling through the page! So far I've raised $475! Thanks for all the support you've shown me and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Carlos Varela
My name is Carlos Varela, and I graduated in May of 2005 from the University of Vermont. I debated for three years, and help coach the novices as part of my senior thesis, "Debating Environmental Issues". Debate has impacted my life in many levels. It gave me skills and techniques for managing and utilizing data. It also served as a catalyst for converting academic apathy into intellectual confidence. After graduation, it impacted me on another level. It provided a job. I went from working in the LDU to working for the UDL. I now work for the DC Urban Debate League, teaching competitive debate in inner-city schools. I help teachers from 6th through 12th grade establish debate teams at their school. Former LDU alum, Sarah Snider, held this position before me. After this job, I wish to attend law school to eventually work in environmental law. I have been blessed with debate, and am dedicated to put those skills to good use.

Kim Greenhut
I hope you remember me. I was on the LDU during my Senior year in '94-'95. Annalei and Andrea were my debate partners. I have been horrible at keeping in touch but that doesn't mean that I don't often think about my debate days and the people that made them special.
I hope all is well with you. I received your appeal in March and have finally gotten around to sending in my support. When I graduated, I had told myself that I was going to send you $25 my first year out and add $5 to my gift each year until it hit a sum that was in keeping with my salary. Well, according to my calculations, I owe you $550. I only sent $100 so I guess I owe you $450.
I had always meant to send money and keep in touch but it was when you were in a temporary location and I was lazy about figuring out where that was. So, here is my update for the past 11 years . . .
I'm back in school to make a career change. I was extremely unhappy in the business world. I found it meaningless and tedious. I do believe in capitalism and I understand that commerce is essential to a healthy economy. However, I find our consumer culture rather vulgar and I don't want to promote it.
I sort of separate my life into pre and post Jan 2001. Pre-2001, I wasn't really happy with my career choice but I was learning, meeting interesting people, enjoying independent adulthood and having fun in my personal life. I lost my Internet job in Jan 2001. I had been an early employee and really felt like I was a part of something important- building a business from the ground up. Even though I was getting restless the lay-off came as a shock and in retrospect, it took me a long time to recover. I was unemployed for 14 months, partly by choice, partly b/c I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do and partly because 9/11 happened and there were no jobs to be had.
I finally ended up finding a job that used the skills I had because I needed structure and income. I was going to use it as my security blanket while I figured out what I wanted to do. Then my boss left and I got promoted and I ended up there for 2.5 years. The company culture was really good, but it was really unhappy, and it was a huge mistake to stay for so long.
A lot of my inability to make change has been due to the cost of housing/parking in SF. I had a great deal for a working person but to lower my standard of living and then have to find a new place when I was eventually ready was what kept me frozen. (I found a great deal when I got back to SF but I've only lived here for 8 months and we are being evicted for an owner move-in. I hate moving. I try to keep my stuff to a minimum but it is still a drag.)
I finally left my job and my place in Jan of 2005 and I went to Southeast Asia for 5 months. My travels and my friendships are what I am most proud of from the past 11 years. I went to South America for 2.5 months after I got laid off. Both of my big trips were on my own which was a great character building experience. I've also done a lot of backpacking in CA and I've been to Alaska and Hawaii and a handful of other states. My friends are mostly married with children and I'm still single, so while I cherish them, we are definitely in different life phases.
And so, I'm making a career change. I realized that I needed a job that was more physical, collaborative, and offered me more change of environment and learning opportunities. I've always been interested in the media and the one thing I love most is traveling, so I am in a Video Production and Editing program at City College in SF. I would like to get into the production of Travel TV. My dream job would be to host a show but short of that I would at least like to be part of the crew that travels and documents! I think it will be fun and I would hope it would encourage people to travel. I do believe that people who travel have a broader world view and make better global citizens.
So that's my update.
It sounds like the LDU is doing well. Growing, Sowing and International! How great. Debate taught me to organize my thoughts and present them but I didn't need two semesters to learn that . . . or even one for that matter. When I look back over my year on the LDU and my life since, it is obvious to me that what has made me happiest was when I had a sense of belonging and a common sense of purpose. The LDU enabled us to challenge and better ourselves while working toward a common goal. I hope that as the team grows you are still able to maintain that feeling of a family because for me that was what was most important.
So do you still debate at lightening speeds? Now that I am out in the real world, I realize that being able to make your point as clearly and concisely as possible is extremely important. I had always felt that the speed of XED was fun but not really appropriate. I never expressed this b/c I was too wimpy but now I feel even stronger about the subject, so I thought I'd mention it. In my opinion, speed was used to confuse and overwhelm the opponent. Succeeding in doing so and winning a debate does not necessarily make one an analytical thinker, quick decision maker and persuasive communicator. To me, these are the skills that one should have after training as a debater.
It could be said that the speed teaches you to be a quick thinker and have excellent concentration. However, in my opinion the time constraints of the format require quick thinking and concentration to the degree that would be required and applied in all areas of life except maybe a triage or a battle situation.
I realize that the speed is in large part due to reading evidence. I was thinking that perhaps it is not necessary to read the evidence verbatim but to paraphrase what it says. The opposing team and/or judge could then review the evidence to confirm that it says what the debater says it does.
Instead of throwing up everything they possibly can, I think a debater should have to choose what would be the strategically best arguments to fit into the time-frame while speaking at a relatively normal speed. I think the skills learned in such a format would be more applicable to life.
An update and an argument, what more could a debate couch ask for?!
I would love an update about Gordie, Annalei, Jethro, and Max if you have them. I've also always wondered what your daughter Sarah(sp?) went on to do.
Please keep me in the loop. Have a great summer and fall semester.


Watch Flashpoint from your computer screen whenever you want! You will need RealPlayer and QuickTime installed on your computer to become a part of our growing audience. Here are some recent programs now available at Many new episodes are now available at
Watch on Burlington Channel 15 Tuesday 12:30 PM, Thursday 10 PM, Saturday 1 PM.

NEXT TAPING: Saturday July 1 2006, meet at the office at 1:30 PM.








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