Arguing their way to the top

Three students attend state speech and debate competition


Kaisha Hawes

Members of the speech and debate team, Cynthia Medhaug-Aversano, junior, and Haydn Maust, freshman, run through their arguments during a speech and debate meeting. Although they didn’t advance to the state competition, three of their teammates did.

Everyone has an opinion about global topics such as nuclear power, free speech, housing and ethical issues. For speech and debate, three members recently took their opinions to the state competition and fought for their side.

“The current topic was on whether or not the United States should guarantee housing,” Dennis Tang, sophomore, said. “Each round lasted about an hour and your goal was to convince them of your position.”

Tang is one of three members who qualified for the state competition. He made it to the octofinals, the round of sixteen, before getting eliminated.

“Sometimes the judge’s decision is completely subjective, but it is still a good way to learn about modern issues and the philosophy behind them,” Tang said.

Along with Tang, Elisabeth Schweitzer, senior, and Nalini Oliver, sophomore, went to state. Though nobody placed, the experience gave them more than a win would have given them.

“It offers incredible opportunities for students who want a way to improve public speaking, or who just enjoy it,” Schweitzer, speech and debate president, said.

Schweitzer wants to continue using her speech and debate techniques in college, while Tang will continue next year by traveling to tournaments out of state. Speech and debate creates a community for those looking to improve skills, but it also requires a large dedication of time.

“The research burden is really high,” Tang said. “Along with that, tournaments on the weekend last all day.”

These three students, however, are willing to sacrifice their time in order to continue doing something they love.

“The community is amazing,” Schweitzer said. “It is a bit like attending a nerd convention, but the overall experience is worth it.”

Schweitzer joined speech and debate as a freshman who was convinced by the upperclassmen to join, and she encourages everyone to do the same.

“It has been a great four years and I would definitely do it again,” Schweitzer said.