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Debate Team reaches finals in world tournament for first time

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UNG rising junior Rodrigo Zavaleta and rising sophomore Stephania Ortez competed in the Spanish as a Second Language division, marking the first time UNG advanced to an elimination round in an international competition.

This summer, the University of North Georgia (UNG) Debate Team earned a spot in the final round of the Spanish World Format Debating Tournament in Valparaiso, Chile.

UNG rising junior Rodrigo Zavaleta and rising sophomore Stephania Ortez competed in the Spanish as a Second Language division, marking the first time UNG advanced to an elimination round in an international competition. Two years ago, UNG completed in the world championships in Cordoba, Spain.

Zavaleta and Ortez qualified for the final round after competing in nine preliminary rounds. Joining them in the finals were teams from Cornell University in New York and the University of La Verne in California.

"I can't believe my work and my partner's hard work took us that far," Ortez said. "And now we want to set new records."

Zavaleta, a physics major from Jefferson, Georgia, and Ortez, a political science major from Gainesville, Georgia, lost to Cornell.

The UNG Debate Team’s next international competition will be Dec. 27 to Jan. 4 at the World Universities Debating Championships (English Language), at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa.

Students interested in joining the debate and speech teams may contact the club's adviser, Tom Preston at tom.preston@ung.edu.

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