106 History of Wake Forest College
Several features of the tournament made it distinctive. Constructive
training instead of mere elimination of losing teams was stressed. No
team was eliminated until it had debated four times, facing a different
opponent each time. Each debate was judged by a single critic judge
who rendered a decision and gave a brief criticism of the strong and
weak points of each team. The winning teams met in semi-finals until
all but two were eliminated. These two competed in a final radio
debate, broadcast by Radio Station WPTF. The winners received a
beautiful loving cup donated by Mr. J. Melville Broughton of Raleigh.
Any school winning the cup three times retained permanent
possession of it. In addition to the debates, contests in oratory and
extempore speaking were included in the first tournament. By 1942,
contests in Declamation, Impromptu and After Dinner speaking, and
Radio Announcing had been added.
Numerous letters received by Mr. Robinson following the first
tournament testified to its success. One principal wrote: "I wish to
congratulate you on arranging one of the most successful debate plans
we have known." And contestants expressed like approval; one of
whom declared: "It was the first real chance afforded to high school
students all over the state to learn how to debate effectively."
So popular was the tournament that numerous schools not in the
invited group expressed their desire to have a part in it, and before the
tournament was temporarily suspended in 1943 because of war
conditions, plans had been made to include them. The North Carolina
Forensic League was organized to sponsor regional tournaments
including all the features of the tournament held at Wake Forest. The
State tournament was to be held annually at Wake Forest, with the
final debate presented by radio. The plan will be put into operation
when the tournament is continued after the war.
In Mr. Robinson's absence, on leave, the tournament was directed
in 1940 by George E. Copple and in 1942 by A. L. Aycock, who
assumed direction of student speech activities at the College
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