The pursuit of dispute

Speech and debate competes in their first tournament of the year.


Aisling Barry, Staff Writer

   Most high school students don’t spend time wondering about whether a high-speed rail system would benefit America, but junior Josie White is not most students. For over a week, White has been compiling evidence for both sides of the argument. But why has she been working so tirelessly on knowing everything she can about this strange topic? 

   In the quiet classrooms of the Bonita Vista High School on Oct. 24, a Speech and Debate tournament went down. White’s debate on high-speed rail systems was challenging to say the least. Battling fiercely round by round to prove her side of the argument.Despite losing the debate in the end, all of her hard work was not for nothing. “I learned how to speak with more substance under pressure,” White said. 

   Unlike for White, this was not sophomore Landan Chu’s first tournament. Being a part of the academic team and the speech and debate team has made Chu a diligent debater. Crediting being able to stay calm under pressure as a virtue at remaining a strong competitor. At his fourth tournament, the magic of the experience still has not faded for him. 

   “Tournaments give us a great opportunity to learn about a new, pressing topic of contention that is circulating in today’s media,” Chu said. “On the social side, I got to spend more time with my teammates, as well as new debaters from other schools, who always brought unique perspectives to the table. While conversations could get heated during the rounds, people were always friendly in the end.”

   The team’s fearless leader, Katherine McMillan, is well experienced when it comes to tournaments. She’s been leading the club for years and knows exactly what each member of the team needs to improve on.  Although no one placed in the Oct. 24 tournament, McMillan was not concerned.

    “It went well, they did fine,” McMillan said. 

The tradition for the first meeting after a tournament is to call the competitors forward to talk about their experiences with the rest of the team. All six of the competitors had something to share about their matches, whether it was something they learned or something funny. 

“Usually I’m stressed at tournaments, but I took a nap between rounds,” sophomore Michael Markoff said. 

According to White, Markoff was not the only napper on the team. “Michael and Kaden (Gustafson) both napped. Kaden was laying on the table at one point,” White said.

   If the speech and debate experience sounds interesting, consider signing up for Trimester 2. Welcome to anyone interested in defending their opinions and expanding their social skills. The club also counts as a 5.5 class, which gives a credit boost and runs on a pass-fail grading scale. 

   Meetings take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:50 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. Talk to McMillan in Room D-5 for more information.