Mercer Debater Cameron Wade Wins Dan Henning Award as Top Novice Speaker at NPDA Nationals

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Cameron Wade and Sanaa Yusuf

MACON – Mercer University sophomore Cameron Wade was named the top novice speaker in the country during the 24th annual National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) National Championship Tournament, held March 12-14 at McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois.

Wade, a religion and women’s and gender studies double-major, is the third Mercer student to win the Dan Henning Top Novice Speaker Award. He follows Jaz Buckley, who swept the awards for top novice speaker and top overall speaker as a freshman in 2015, and Yasmeen Hill, who was top novice speaker as a sophomore last year.

Buckley, Hill and Wade are the first three African Americans to win the Dan Henning Award.

Wade’s partner, Sanaa Yusuf, a sophomore psychology major, was third-place speaker at nationals, and both debaters made it to the final round of the tournament.

“Cam and Sanaa are two of the most talented debaters I have ever known,” said Dr. Vasile Stanescu, director of debate. “This is the start of a truly remarkable debate career. In a larger sense, it speaks to what truly makes Mercer truly special – student excellence coupled with meaningful diversity. I could not be more proud of everyone on Mercer’s team.”

“I might have won first-place speaker, but debate is a team sport,” added Wade. “I couldn’t have done it without our amazing captains Taylor Cole and Eduardo Rubio and teammates Yasmeen Hill and Cameron Dawkins, but most of all, I could not have done it without my fantastic partner Sanaa Yusuf. If I’m eating, the whole team’s eating. That’s just the way it works.”

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Kyle Sears