Speech and Debate prepares for events

Speechies, debators, forensics and many more terms are part of the Speech and Debate team.

“I’ve competed at the varsity level and I have competed at the district level.  And then in metro finals, which is like the regional competition for debate here in Northern Virginia,” senior Kyle Paget said.

The team is divided up into two groups, the speechies and the debators.  The speechies are the students who compete in events where they have to spontaneously write a speech and present it in a short amount of time.  The debators have debates against other students about real world issues and try to come up with a way to solve them.

“We practice by listening to each other’s speeches and other various things.  We watch them and give them feedback.  We get better by practicing this way,” senior speechie Andrew Lewis, said.

On February 13, the speechies competed in the Regional Forensics tournament.  Each year the team has advanced to Regionals, States and even Nationals.

“I think we did well.  Even though we may not have exceeded the expectations that we have, we worked really hard to get where we were,” senior Stephanie Nguyen said.

Many people confuse the word “forensics” with crime scene investigation and television shows, said teams coach Jennifer Fulton.  According to her, forensics originally meant “like a reason to argument and presentation.”

The speechies competed in four categories, accros which there were six competitors.  The debate team on the other hand competes in many one-on-one and two-on-two competitions.

The debate team practices after school on Thursdays where they often participate in mock debates, where one person will read the topic and others listen in and debate about it.  They compete every month or two according to Fulton.

“It is not very fun, not very fun to come after school to do this and on Saturdays to get up early.  But it is very rewarding when you go home on a Saturday night and you know that you have gotten a lot better at speaking and that you have really furthered yourself academically,” said Paget.

There are a few differences between the speechies and the debators.  Speech events tend to be more creative, where as debate tends to be more serious about the issue given according to Fulton.  For debate, competitioins are either is one-on-one or two-on-two and the one-on-ones compete every two months on a topic.  For speech, there are many categories which can be competed in, including events such as Original Oratory, Impromptu or Storytelling.

The Speech and Debate team is different from the other teams and clubs here at the school.  The sport requires a very different skill than most of the sports.  It doesn’t practice everyday like many sports, but still requires commitment and is still able to compete at a high school level.