Shelby Jo Long-Hammond, associate professor of communication studies, director of forensics, 406.657.1054, 
RMC Media Team, 406.657.1104, 

Photo:  RMC debate team standing on Orator’s Rock in front of the Acropolis (from left to right): Jack Jennaway, David Fegeran, Gerald Biebink, and Shaelyn Sturdevant.

Rocky Mountain College debate team finishes in top half of Athens tournamentacropolis

BILLINGS, September 14, 2015 – RMC’s Debate Team finished in the top half of the Athens Open 2015, which was held in Athens, Greece, from August 28-30. There were 15 countries represented at the tournament, with Rocky Mountain College and the U.S. Air Force Team as the only two teams from the United States.

The RMC team was led by Shelby Jo Long-Hammond, RMC’s director of forensics and associate professor of communications studies. “Our team competed well,” said Long-Hammond. “We won some and lost some, but overall it was great exposure for our students.” She explained that after six preliminary rounds, RMC’s debate team finished in the top half.

David Fejeran, Jack Jennaway, Gerald Giebink, and Shaelyn Sturdevant were the students who represented Rocky Mountain College in the Athens Open.

“This tournament was a fantastic opportunity to discuss various perspectives,” said Long-Hammond. She explained that the debaters discussed a wide variety of topics, from Greece leaving the European Union to the Syrian refugees migrating through Greece.

“Something that stood out to me during this trip was how many different perspectives I was able to gain through other debaters,” said RMC debater Shaelyn Sturdevant. “Whether it was talking about politics with a German team or talking about social issues with a Greek team, I was able to look at arguments a different way and see how these issues are not just prevalent to just the United States.”

Gerald Giebink added, “The tournament was amazing. It was a great opportunity to learn a little bit about other cultures and what other countries think about current events. The level of competition was impressive, and we learned quite a bit as far as debate strategy goes.”

Long-Hammond added that the RMC debate team’s upcoming events include tournaments with Carroll College and Powell in November, followed by a possible tournament in Jamaica in the spring and at Kings College in New York.  

You can follow the RMC Debate Team through Facebook and Twitter by following the RMC Debate page. All students are welcome to attend practices in Morledge-Kimball room 125 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. For more information or questions, contact Shelby Jo Long-Hammond at