By Talon Reporter Nat Needham
Most people call it arguing; these kids call it debating.
Speech and Debate is a traditional club found in nearly every high school. HRV has a very capable team of our own. “They are all outstanding!” said the team’s coach, Dee Campos-Davis in an email. “Senior Hannah Hart is having a very successful senior year and hopes to be a 4 time state qualifier. It’s hard to pick out only a few because we really do have good depth–they work hard and because of their work we have won 3rd place in our last two tournaments–competing against teams which are two and three times our size.”
The team is preparing for their final Open tournament of the season, which is at Southridge High School on March 5th. “The senior or Open level of competition in all types of Debate is very tough,” says Campos-Davis. “Much of our debate team is newer and younger, but Sophomores Amy Webber, Mason Leavitt, Soren Rajani and Freshman Sarah Wang have received high speaker points in their respective debates.”
Our team is especially talented in Individual Events such as poetry, prose, and expository speaking, according to Ms. Campos-Davis. “What makes someone successful at tournaments is simple hard work,” she said. “The students who enjoy success are the ones who practice and put time and effort into their events– just like any competitive activity.”
Senior Darrian Thomas, one of the three team captains, joined in his sophomore year after being encouraged by friends. “My friend told me I was good at lying, so I should join Speech and Debate–so I did,” he jokes. “I can really see the effects it had in my everyday life. It made me a better essay writer, made me speak more eloquently, just made me overall a more well-rounded person.”
There are certain traits that will help an aspiring debater. “People who enjoy Speech and Debate are usually good writers, creative thinkers, and people who enjoy considering all sides of an issue. You don’t actually have to be a naturally good public speaker to get started, you learn those skills as you go,” says Campos-Davis. “The great thing about Speech and Debate is there are so many different types of events that there is bound to be one or two that appeal to each person.”
“I’ve never been afraid to make a fool of myself,” says Thomas. “That definitely helps because it takes a lot of courage, a lot of confidence to get up there and talk in front of people. Reading a lot, being really well read-up on the news or just anything will help you.” You don’t need to be an expert on everything. “If you’re really good at science, you can talk about science; if you’re really good at history, you can talk about history,” Thomas added.
Freshman Sofie Larsen-Teskey joined because she loves public speaking. “Just the ability
to show different pieces that I love, like different stories, different poems that I’ve already found, and present them to people,” is what interested her, says Larsen-Teskey. “I want to do it all four years.” Larsen-Teskey is a solo speaker.
Speech and Debate is ideal for people who love to compete but want to display their brain rather than their brawn. “The whole thing about doing competitions, but intellectual competitions… I thought it would be cool,” Larsen-Teskey enthused. “I love the competitions; the tournaments are amazing. I love the people. The people are probably my favorite part because you not only get to meet people who have a passion for nerdy things, but they also usually are intellectual and will talk about things like different types of cancer… Especially the debate people are up-to-date on what’s happening around the world. It’s interesting to get their views because they not only have to look at their side, but the other side of the argument.”
On March 10 and 11, our Speech and Debate team is headed for University of Oregon to participate in the National Qualifier tournament. If someone wins their event at that tournament, they qualify to go to a national competition in June. On April 2nd HRV will host the District Tournament. 1st and 2nd place winners will qualify for the State Tournament at Western Oregon University on April 21-23.
Anyone can join speech and debate. “Like any OSAA sponsored activity, there are grade and other eligibility requirements, as well as team fees,” says Campos-Davis. “We fundraise to keep our costs low and insure that any student who wants to be on the team can do so.” Speech and Debate meets at lunch on Mondays and Thursdays. There is after school practice on Thursdays. They meet in Mrs. Yasui’s room, CO2.