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Oklahoma student to compete in World Debate tournament

February 21, 2015

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Few high school students get the chance to visit Slovenia. But for Nicky Halterman, it’s one stop on his way to Oxford University.

The Norman High senior was chosen by the National Speech & Debate Association to be a member of the 2015 United States’ World Schools Debate team, The Norman Transcript (http://bit.ly/1CJqoRy ) reports.

“It’s definitely the most amazing thing I’ve done,” Halterman said. “It’s really amazing.”

As part of Team USA, Halterman will compete in a form of debate called World Schools Debate, which features a dynamic format combining the concepts of “prepared” topics with “impromptu” topics, encouraging debaters to focus on specified issues rather than debate theory or procedural arguments. It also allows debaters to engage each other, even during speeches, and requires good teamwork and in-depth quality argumentation.

Halterman was the only Oklahoman chosen through a highly competitive, rigorous process to be a part of the nation’s elite, 12-member cadre of debaters. His 11 teammates hail from California, Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

“They are a really incredible people,” Halterman said of his teammates. “I’ve been really blown away to be a part of them.”

He is a standout talent in his own right. NHS Speech and Debate Coach Kasey Harrison, who has been Halterman’s coach during his four years at NHS and was instrumental in NHS being recognized as a National Debate School of Honor, said Halterman was most deserving of his place on team USA. As a junior, Halterman was ranked 2nd in America in the format of Lincoln-Douglas debate. Earlier, as a sophomore, he was ranked 15th in the nation.

″(Halterman) is one of the hardest working students I’ve ever come across; he strives to make himself better, and he also works to make teammates around him better,” Harrison said. “This is a tremendous opportunity and I know that he will represent himself, Norman Public Schools and the United States very well in this most recent endeavor.”

“Nicky’s run of amazing accomplishments seems to go on and on and most impressive is the effort and work that he puts into his preparation,” Beck said. “Through hard work and persistence, Nicky has placed himself among the elite in the speech and debate world and we couldn’t be prouder of him.

The team has competed in three tournaments in the U.S. and one on Stuttgart, Germany. The team now has less than two weeks until their next Slovenia. Their journey will culminate in the World Championship in Singapore in July 2015. But, not all of them will go - each member is vying for a highly-coveted spot on the championship team.

“This whole year has been something of a second audition process,” Halterman said.

His place at Oxford University, however, has been assured. The school does not award merit-based financial aid to international students, but it has offered Halterman a rare, unconditional offer to attend. He has declared to study politics, philosophy and economics at the school.

His parents, University of Oklahoma Professor Dr. Ronald Halterman and President’s Associates Presidential Professor Dr. Jill Irvine, are proud of his recent accomplishments.

“They’re been very great,” Halterman said. “The joke is that I travel more than they do now. They’ve been really great about keeping me going and intact and alive through all of this. They’ve helped me make it all possible.”

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Information from: The Norman Transcript, http://www.normantranscript.com

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