Pineville High’s Debate Tournament hosted by Louisiana Christian University

By Phoebe Lim

Pineville High School partnered with Louisiana Christian University to host the Cenla Classic Debate Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 19-20. Five high school debate teams competed in the event: Caldwell Parish High School, Alexandria Senior High, Pineville High School, Ruston High School and Peabody High School.


Winners were:

Big Question:

1st James Shepherd, Pineville High School

2nd Curtis Bertrand, Pineville High School

3rd Chason Hernandez, Pineville High School


Novice Lincoln Douglas:

1st Andrew Took, Ruston High School

2nd Scarlett Allred, Ruston High School


Oral Interpretation:

1st Luke Clark, Caldwell High School

2nd Reese Gregory, Caldwell High School


Humorous Interpretation:

1st Scarlett Allred, Ruston High School

2nd Maddox Schulte, Caldwell High School

3rd William Deal, Ruston High School



1st Kourtland Marcotte, Peabody High School

2nd Maddie Lavespere, Pineville High School

3rd Angie Lorenzo, Alexandria Senior High School


Dramatic Interpretation:

1st Abigail Holton, Ruston High School

2nd Christian Wilks, Caldwell High School

3rd Titan Gutierrez, Caldwell High School



1st Harper Anderson, Ruston High School

2nd Naemah Abdelsalam, Alexandria Senior High School

3rd Mia Parrish, Alexandria Senior High School


Claire Dauzat, Pineville High School’s debate coach, expressed her desire to make this tournament an annual event.

“Pineville High School was proud to partner with LCU to host the first Cenla Classic Invitational Speech and Debate Tournament,” Dauzat said. “The event was a success and a fantastic experience for the participating students. We are already working with LCU Debate to ensure that next year’s tournament is even bigger and better. PHS truly appreciates LCU opening its beautiful campus to be the home of this event.”

It was an exciting opportunity for high schoolers to participate in Novice Lincoln Douglas and Big Question. Multiple individual events were offered, including impromptu, extemporaneous, oral interpretation, humorous interpretation and dramatic interpretation. Awards ranged from certificates and $25 gift cards to $1,000 and $2,000 scholarships at LCU for incoming freshmen.

This event also served as the capstone for two senior public relations majors at Louisiana Christian University, Nathan Roper and Phoebe Lim, who began planning for the event in the fall of 2023, excited to share their passion for debate with high schoolers.

“I didn’t have the opportunity to debate in high school, but as soon as I started college and joined the debate team, I fell in love with it,” Lim said. “Ever since then, it’s become what I look forward to most every week.”

Roper worked behind the scenes, ensuring the tournament stayed on schedule.

“The results of this weekend give me confidence in the next generation of effective communicators,” Roper said. “Students were challenged to be competitive and expressive in nature.”

Brian Manuel, LCU dean of students and Wildcat Debate coach, spoke at the awards ceremony, encouraging the future of debate.

“What an honor to partner with Pineville High School and host their debate tournament at Louisiana Christian University,” Manuel said. “Coach Clair Dauzat and assistant coach Kira are off to a great start with their team. In addition, I am proud of our LCU Wildcat Speech and Debate team as they were exemplary hosts. Every member sought out ways to make this event the best it could be.”

Plans are already underway to turn the tournament into an annual event, bringing debate into the spotlight of the CENLA area.



Media Release     |     Jan. 23, 2024     |     Pineville, Louisiana
Contact: Dr. Elizabeth B. Clarke, Director of University Communications |