After achieving success at multiple parliamentary debate tournaments during the past five months, two members of the University of North Texas Debate Team were selected for the 2018 National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence, which will be held March 28-31 at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.
Matthew Hernandez, a freshman broadcast journalism and political science major from Athens, and Abron Hester, a senior political science major from Harker Heights, qualified for the national tournament as one of the top 64 teams, representing more than 20 colleges and universities, in the nation.
The two won the National Parliamentary Debate Association division at the annual fall Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association Championship Tournament last November, giving UNT Debate its second win in a row for that tournament's parliamentary debate division. In addition to winning the division, Hernandez and Hester both received speaker awards.
Hernandez and Hester also placed at tournaments held at the University of Utah, William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri and Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. They are currently ranked by the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence as 39th out of more than 600 college and university two-student teams in the nation.
Hester, who was named to 2016-17 Texas All-State Forensic Squad by the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association, also represented UNT in the 2017 National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence with another debate partner.