Towson University students Ameena Ruffin and Korey Johnson, the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) National Debate Champions, were honored in the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates this past Friday, April 4. Ruffin and Johnson made history with their win as the first black women’s debate team to capture a national title.
Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller presented the team with a Senate citation recognizing their outstanding contributions to the art of debate in an extended ceremony on the Senate floor. Ruffin and Johnson were presented by Senator James Brochin (District 42, Baltimore County), who congratulated the students on their historic accomplishment. Additionally, Senator Joan Carter Conway (District 43, Baltimore City) praised the team. The students, both of whom are from Baltimore, were celebrated with a standing ovation.
Moving over to the House of Delegates, Speaker of the House Michael Busch (District 30, Anne Arundel County) welcomed the team up to the Speaker’s table, where he presented them with a House of Delegates citation. Delegate Stephen W. Lafferty (District 42, Baltimore County) presented the students to the House, where they received another rousing standing ovation.
Towson President Maravene Loeschke beamed with pride as Ruffin and Johnson posed for photos with numerous state legislators — including the leadership of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus — for more than 40 minutes.
Ruffin and Johnson beat Oklahoma in the final round to claim the prestigious CEDA national championship. In the course of the tournament, the Towson team bested teams from elite schools including Harvard, Trinity, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, Vanderbilt and NYU. In so doing, the team earned a first-round bid to the 2014 National Debate Tournament, designating them as one of the top 16 teams in the country.
You can listen to an interview with Ruffin and Johnson on WYPR-FM, where they discussed how they strategically prepared for the CEDA national championship competition.