|DATE 01/18/2004 7:15 AM|
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.
World’s “Best Talkers” to Gather in Sanpete County;
|Some of the fastest and most persuasive talkers in the world will converge on Mt. Pleasant City March 24-28 for the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships at Wasatch Academy.This is the first time a U.S. school has been awarded the prestigious honor of hosting the event. And Joe Loftin, director of the 129-year-old private school in Mt. Pleasant, says Wasatch Academy was a “very appropriate choice.””We have an extremely diverse campus and this will be an extremely diverse competition,” he says. The academy has about 150 students from 21 states and 14 countries.
The debating championships will attract close to 100 award-winning student debaters from more than 20 countries around the globe. Previously, the annual event has been held in the United Kingdom, Argentina and Cyprus.
The competition is a perfect opportunity to share a bit of Sanpete County’s history and traditions with the world, says Monte Bona, a member of the Mt. Pleasant City Council and Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council.
“We are working closely with Joe and with debate coach Tass Bey in welcoming people from all over the world to our town,” Bona says. “We will be introducing them to our rich heritage and emphasizing the wonderful educational opportunities that are available here, as well as the cultural diversity that exists in the proposed Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area.”
For his part, Loftin says he hopes the event will help put the respected boarding school “on the map.”
Competitors all will take part in four events: debate, impromptu speaking, interpretive speaking and persuasive or after-dinner speaking. The championships are sponsored by the Independent public Speaking Association, a group of private schools located primarily in the Eastern United States and in England.
In order to take part in the competition, invited participants must have already won qualifying tournaments in their own countries or regions. One country may send a maximum of five students.
Last year, Wasatch Academy student Eli King qualified to take part in the world championships that were held in London, England. This year, Joshua Nowitz qualified to participate in the tournament. Born in South Africa and raised in Houston, Texas, Nowitz received accolades from the city of Houston for his accomplishment, along with a “Shining Star of Texas” award from Governor Rick Perry.
In addition to the debate competition, Bey has arranged for participants to learn about “play theory” from some of the nation’s foremost experts. The theory holds that learning is most effective when melded with play activities. Competitors will also take part in recreational activities, including a field trip to Arches National Park.
Wasatch Academy has only had a debate program for about two years. Bey, who moved to Mt. Pleasant from Canada in 2001, launched the forensics program when he arrived.
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|For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council