Wiley College honors actor Denzel Washington

The Hollywood Actor takes a trip to East Texas, where he acted and directed "The Great Debaters"

MARSHALL - To Wiley students, it's a proud feeling to know actor, Denzel Washington, to be part of the Wild Cat family. It is even better when he's back on campus.

It's been 10 years since the movie 'The Great Debaters' debuted in theaters. A movie that shined a light on a historical Black college in East Texas. A movie that inspired Hailey Byerly to become a Great Debater herself. Byerly, is one of the 'Individual Events' captains. Meaning, she keeps the team accountable in competing their best. 

"Without Melvin B. Tolsin we wouldn't exist as a debate team," Byerly said. 

Having Oscar winning actor back on campus feels surreal the young debater. Wiley College honored Washington for his contributions to raising awareness of debate education. It's a proud moment for Byerly to be a part of. To her, being a Great Debater is a badge of honor around the college. 

"I kinda feel like we're the football team of the school in a way," Byerly said. "We put Wiley on the map." 

Not only was the famous actor honored. The HBCU Debate League posthumously inducted Professor Tolson, the first debate team's instructor, into its newly established Debate Hall of Fame. 

 

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