Tag Archives: Sean Allen

TSU Forensics team named national champions, top HBCU team in the country for second consecutive year

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Forensics team was recently named the overall national champions and the top HBCU speech and debate team in the country for the second consecutive year.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s HBCU National Speech and Debate Championship was held virtually Feb. 27-28. It featured 14 historically black colleges and universities. In addition to the overall win, TSU’s team walked away with 10 national championship titles, 54 total awards, and the top overall speaker in the tournament for the fourth consecutive year.

“The coaching staff and I are so proud of these students and what they were able to accomplish this season during a time like this,” said Sean Allen, a professor and TSU’s Director of Forensics.  “The switch from traveling during the year to suddenly learning to compete virtually was not an easy feat for the students nor the coaches. Not to mention, most of our practice sessions had to be done virtually. Keeping these students motivated was challenging, but they ultimately came together for their love of the activity and were able to make their best showing at the tournament to date.”

TSU sophomore Maya McClary placed first in the “Persuasive Speaking” category. She talked about the impact COVID-19 has had on prison systems, particularly the disparity in the death rate among black and white inmates. Statistics show 60 percent of inmates dying from the coronavirus are African American.

McClary said adjusting to competing virtually was challenging, but she credited coaches Allen and TSU Professor Earnest Mack with preparing the students to compete, regardless of the circumstance.

“Our coaches do a great job of making sure we’re left with little room for excuses,” said McClary, a mass communications major from Orlando, Florida. “During this pandemic, it was very difficult. But our coaches always require the best out of us. Because of our work ethic, it allowed us to do well.”

Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis, Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at TSU, said the Forensics team’s success once again “showcases TSU excellence.”

“These results demonstrate the continued commitment of our faculty and students to lift student voices and their presence in the world,” said Morgan-Curtis.

Dr. Tameka Winston, Mass Communications Department Chair and Associate Vice President at TSU, agreed.

“Our talented students continue to display excellence and I’m so proud of their hard work,” said Winston. “I had the opportunity to attend the virtual championship this year and our students represented the university and the department well. Our wonderful coaches prepared our students to consistently produce and operate on the highest level. The next goal is to earn this title in 2022 and continue to take our team and the forensics area to new heights.”

Other Forensics team members that placed top in their categories include: Trey Gibson, “After Dinner Speaking”, “Poetry Interpretation”, and “Overall Individual Speaker”; Tayneria Gooden, “Program of Oral Interpretation”; Tayneria Gooden and Kierstan Tate, “Duo Interpretation”; Trae Hubbard, “Prose Interpretation”; and Chase Garrett, “Dramatic Interpretation”.

The TSU Forensics team, which claimed first place in “Individual Event Champions” and “Overall Tournament Champions”, will end their season April 16-20 at the National Forensics Association competition, an elite national tournament where students must qualify throughout the year to compete. For the first time in the team’s history, every member of the TSU team secured a qualification to compete in the competition. 

To learn more about TSU’s Forensics team and the Department of Communications, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/communications/forensics.aspx.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU to host Pi Kappa Delta National Forensics Tournament

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University will host the Pi Kappa Delta National Forensics Tournament March 14-17.

TSU’s award-winning Forensics team. (submitted photo)

Nearly 90 schools, with roughly 1,500 competitors, are expected to participate. It will be the first time in nearly two decades that a historically black college or university has hosted the tournament.

“For us to be hosting the national tournament is such a big deal,” says Sean Allen, TSU’s director of Forensics. “It’s the oldest, it’s the largest, it’s the most prestigious.”

TSU’s forensics team, which is having a record-breaking year, is looking forward to participating in the tournament, says Allen, who was an award-winning member of the Forensics team at Wiley College, which was the subject of the 2007 movie, “The Great Debaters”.

Last month, TSU’s team competed at the Tennessee Intercollegiate Forensics Association state tournament.  It had been six years since the team won the state tournament, but it brought the championship back home. The team walked away with a total of 51 awards.

TSU freshman and Forensic member Jazmyn Bolden won several awards at the competition. The Houston, Texas native, who has been in Forensics since her freshman year in high school, says she’s excited about this month’s tournament, and proud that TSU is hosting it.

“It’s exciting because it’s being held at an HBCU,” says Bolden. “And it’s a big tournament.”

To learn more about TSU’s Forensics team, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/Communications/forensics.aspx

Find out more about Pi Kappa Delta at https://www.speechanddebate.org/pkd/

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.