Why Speech and Debate Matters: Part 2
By Danielle Schum, '17
As a middle schooler at Trinity, I knew that I was eventually going to have to take Trinity's Speech and Debate elective and I didn't really know what it meant. Also, the only view I had received of the class was not particularly exciting view because it wasn't people's favorite class. Towards the end of my eighth-grade year, our former speech and debate coach asked students to volunteer to time keep for the rounds of the state tournament. I watched some of our alumni compete and it inspired me to want to join. I stuck with the Speech and Debate team for four years because I loved the platform of being able to express my ideas in rational ways and look at important issues from all sides.
My first year in Debate I participated in Junior Varsity Policy Debate and it was a quite an adventure. Our topic was whether or not the US Federal Government should increase economic and/or diplomatic engagement with Cuba, Mexico, or Venezuela. Competitors in this category must write a case to provide a solution to the resolution including an issue that needs to be solved within the topic, a well-researched achievable plan, and advantages to their particular plan. In addition, they must also be well-researched to refute other teams' plans and show logic to prove and connect their evidence. For the next three years I advanced to Varsity Policy and gained a very strong work ethic and persistent will. In my junior year at Trinity, I finally dipped into the speech side with Humorous Interpretation (HI) and was instantly connected. HI was my favorite category and I competed in it for two years. I also tried Original Oratory and Congressional Debate and wish that I had more time to explore those categories.
"I stuck with the Speech and Debate team for four years because I loved the platform of being able to express my ideas in rational ways and look at important issues from all sides."
I qualified to the Hawaii State Speech and Debate Tournament once in Junior Varsity Policy and once in Humorous Interpretation. Every year that I participated in debate, I attended the Big Island Tournament at Parker School and that tournament is so helpful for team bonding. With a closer team, students compete better.
I always knew I wanted to stick with Speech and Debate both out of love for it and because I discovered scholarships for it. I've been competing on the Concordia Irvine Speech Team for a year and it has been one of the best growing experiences I have had in college. My teammates are all such amazing speakers and inspire me to do better in addition to helping me get better. At the collegiate level there are way more tournaments than on the high school circuit and each one is an opportunity to qualify to the National Tournament. In short, the stakes are always high and the competition is fierce. I took freshman year to be a learning year, but next year, I'm prepared to bring the fire from day one.
"I took freshman year to be a learning year, but next year,
I'm prepared to bring the fire from day one."
So far, I have competed in two categories that are both similar to Original Oratory. In high school, Original Oratory is a research speech that students write themselves on topic of their choice. In college there are different variations of that. One is called an Informative Platform in which the speaker writes an original research speech to inform the audience about just about anything. The second is After-Dinner-Speaking (ADS) which is basically an Oratory filled with jokes. In April I will be attending the American Forensics Association National Tournament with my Informative Platform speech and the honor of attending is huge for me. The fact that I have this opportunity as a freshman fills me with gratitude. Beyond participating in college-level speech and debate, having the confidence to speak has exponentially lightened a lot of the stress that can come with college classes because of the skill sets I gained while competing, from researching to presentation.
It's also one of those activities that empowers you in life even after you've finished competing. If I choose to be an actor or director in theatre, I will be well-spoken and be able to do character research and analysis easily. If I choose to be a teacher, I will surely encourage my students to get more comfortable with speaking if I don't end up as a speech and debate team coach. Not only that, but I'll be able to communicate well with my students and accurately explain the various sides to issues. More broadly, as a citizen, I think that speech and debate can greatly impact people to be well rounded members of their community. They'll be able to see both sides to the arguments and communicate well in society. I would strongly advocate incorporating speech and debate programs into high schools for those reasons because I have seen those benefits play out in my life and my teammates.
Danielle is a Class of 2017 alumna who started at Trinity in 2010. Now she is finishing her freshman year at Concordia University Irvine. Danielle is double majoring in Theatre with an acting/directing emphasis and History while also getting her teaching credential. In the future she hopes to be a high school history teacher, find a job acting or directing, or a combo of it all.
Speech & Debate Fall Tournaments
By Jake Hampton
Our secondary school Speech & Debate Team has been hard at work! So far this year, our team has been to three tournaments. The first tournament of the season was a Speech-only event on October 7th, at Kahuku High School. Kaila Baker and Lauren Baker both received Overall Superior ratings for their excellent work, and Kaila Baker managed to place first overall in her category, Impromptu Speaking.
The next tournment was on October 15th, where the Trinity Debate team went to Waialua for the first Debate tournament of the season. Lauren Baker and Grace Klein won their first round, lost only to a former state champion and his partner, and received a BYE for the last round of the Tournament. Overall, they won half their ballots.
Finally, last weekend (first weekend of November), the Trinity Speech team went to University Lab school double-entry tournament and performed at the largest event yet of the season. Out of eight students, we received three Overall Superiors, one for Lauren Baker for her Original Oratory piece, and two Overall Superiors won by Kai Glorioso in both Original Oratory and Impromptu Speech.
Our Trinity team has continuously done an excellent job of representing not only our school by the ideas of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty as they faced fierce competition and remained courteous and resolute. Congratulations to all our speakers and debators for their hard work!