Sean Mason 3rd in Nation in Lincoln Douglas Debate

posted Jun 17, 2016, 5:37 AM by District Webmaster   [ updated Jun 17, 2016, 6:06 AM ]

Congratulations to both of our senior debaters and debate sponsor Linda Shipley: Sean Mason placed third in the nation in Lincoln Douglas Debate at nationals in Salt Lake City, Utah, while Tanner Brooks was in the top 30 out of 772 competitors in domestic extemporaneous debate.

Sean Mason (Senior) — Lincoln Douglas Debate 
Tanner Brooks (Senior) — Domestic Extemporaneous Debate
Russell Drummond (Junior) — Informative Speaking 
Pranoy Behera and Abby Hales (Juniors) — Public Forum Debate 
Jack Williams (Junior) — Lincoln Douglas Debate
Vishnu Vasudevan and Corbin Wright (Sophomores) — Public Forum Debate

Below is Sean Mason, with sponsor Linda Shipley, with some of the district awards before he and other debaters went to nationals in June 2016.
Sean Mason and Linda Shipley

Below are some of the students who qualified for Nationals this year.
Nationals Qualifiers for 2016

Below are students who qualified for Nationals this year, having fun with sponsor Linda Shipley even amidst the hard work of national competition.
Nationals 2016

Shipley Retiring after Years of Outstanding Performance

Linda Shipley
Sean Mason's ranking as 3rd in the nation in Lincoln Douglas Debate follows on Lawrence Zhou becoming national champion in the event in 2014, only the second time that an Oklahoma student earned that honor.  Those are recent highlights of Linda Shipley's long and successful career at Bartlesville High School.

2015-2016 turned out to be Linda Shipley's final year of teaching at BHS, with her retiring from her public school career after 36 years of teaching. She will be moving to Tulsa this summer to begin a new career teaching debate in private school, at Bishop Kelley.

Ms. Shipley has had a stellar career at Bartlesville High School, teaching speech, debate, and language arts there since 1994. She was recognized as Bartlesville High’s 2009 Teacher of the Year.

During her time at Bartlesville High Ms. Shipley has helped to transform the school’s forensics program. Prior to her arrival, the district had never qualified a student for the National Forensic League’s speech and debate tournament, an annual event which showcases some of the top youngsters from throughout the country. But since that time, the BPSD has boasted many dozens of students at the NFL’s national event and countless others in state and regional speech competitions.

Ms. Shipley has a master’s degree in education, with an emphasis in English, from Northeastern State University.

In 2009 she stated, “My students are my greatest accomplishments in education. I have two former students who are now graduates from Harvard, one former student presenting attending Yale Law School, and one former student who was a finalist for the Rhodes scholarship.”

Of course, Shipley’s memorable moments in education aren’t defined by Ivy League accomplishments. While leading a public speaking class, she helped a special needs student overcome some difficult hurdles to become an integral part of a group exercise. When it came time for the youngster to present her portion of a television news show to the class, both of her parents were in attendance, each of them having taken off work to witness their daughter’s achievement. “They videotaped her presentation so she would have a permanent memory of her success,” recalls Shipley.

Shipley’s primary goal for each and every student in her charge was to do them no harm. She did not want to break anyone’s spirit or to plant any seeds of doubt. She wanted to encourage them, teach to their strengths, and show them that anything was possible.

On her first day of school as a kindergartener, Shipley entered class and soon had dreams of teaching one day. 

“I wanted to be the teacher rather than the student,” she said. “That desire has never wavered.”

By the time she was ready to graduate from kindergarten – and every subsequent grade – that dream remained. The educators who guided young Shipley nurtured her and never discounted any of her aspirations.

“If I am truly an outstanding teacher, it is because I care about kids, both inside the classroom and out in the world,” says Shipley. “I do all that I am capable of to prepare them for the global community in which they will be living and interacting.”

A veteran educator, Shipley is more than happy to share her experience with new teachers just entering the profession. Every September, she leads a workshop focused on helping new speech and debate instructors in Oklahoma to organize the forensics teams at their respective schools. She advises them about the new and existing rules and regulations which are in place in state competitions.

Shipley has served as the chairperson for the National Forensics League’s East Oklahoma District, which featured 39 member schools. The league is now known as the National Speech & Debate Organization.

In 2009, Shipley stated, “I am the conduit for the 40-plus teachers who sponsor the National Forensic League’s East Oklahoma District chapters in their local high schools. I am continually working to recruit both new teachers and new schools into the organization while providing mentoring and resources to those who are already members.”

We are grateful to Ms. Shipley for her years of service and all she has done for students. The students at Bishop Kelley will be very lucky to have her.