Speech and Debate: Not as nerdy as it seems!
by Lekha Medarametla and Maya Razmi
In case you’ve been living in under a rock since the beginning of high school, HB has an amazing speech and debate team! Despite all the clichés, it’s not a “nerdy” club and its really fun and teaches you incredible public speaking skills that will help you learn for life. And if you’re one of the majority of people that HATE public speaking, well Speech and Debate is just for you! No I’m not crazy, it helps you get over your fears in an environment that is scary at first but somewhere that you can practice and overcome your fear slowly. You can join anytime, and there are multiple events so you can find the one what just right for you! Anyway, now that the advertising part of the article is over, we want to share the experience of being in a speech and debate tournament.
A few Saturdays ago was the novice speech and debate tournament at Vermillion High School. However, this time, we were on the other side of the tournament. Instead of competing, we were judging. It was definitely an eye opening experience. Besides, it was nice to go to a speech and debate tournament without stressing out in professional clothes and high heels.
Maya: I still remember my first debate tournament. Not only did I have no clue what to do, but I also had no clue where I was going. I remember haphazardly writing my cases the night before and asking myself why I chose to do debate. I also remember hating the hour-long bus rides to the middle of nowhere (also known as Ohio), when it was still dark on a Saturday morning. But in the end, I ended up finding out where to go and what to do, although I still procrastinate a ton on writing cases.
Lekha: I, on the other hand, am a “speecher”. I do Oratorical Interpretation – oh sorry, “Declamation” (I hate the name changes). I remember doing the same Novice tournament in Vermillion last year, and lets just say I was not the most… “Well-versed” competitor. I was confident my first round and went up without my paper because I was sure that I had it memorized. Big mistake. Halfway through my 10-minute long talk, I got a sudden bout of nervousness and forgot my speech. I KNEW the speech, but I could not recall a single word. So what did I do? I stared at the ceiling for a full 30 seconds. After a few “ummm” and “uuuuh”s, I walked to the back of the classroom where I was sitting, got my speech transcript, and walked all the way back and continued my speech as if it never happened. Except it did. And I was humiliated. But it was actually fine because I realized that everyone else was a novice too and it could only get better from there.
This tournament was especially for first timers, and on the bus ride back, we asked the novices one word to describe to their experience at their first speech and debate tournament and how they felt after their tournaments.
Alison, a freshman in Policy, states: “It was alright, I guess. A lot better than I expected!” In one word, she describes the experience as tiring.
Daria Gitiforooz, a freshman, states that after a few rounds, she felt a lot better about the experience. Also, she describes speech and debate, as “life changing”.
Coralin Li, a sophomore in Public Forum, states, “I thought I had fun and did really well! My partner and I tied first. I’ve never really been part of team before, so I think its really cool and fun and I’m really excited. In one word, I would describe debate as easy.”
And of course seasoned veterans who are not novices anymore got the opportunity to judge, which presented insight on the other end of spectrum. We also interviewed them on the bus home.
Amelia Seger, sophomore: “It was long. “
“Very long. But it was fun telling other people what to do!”
Isha Lele, sophomore: “It felt really good because at novice and novice states I was really nervous and I didn’t really know what to expect but it felt good to help out people in my position last year. Judging was hard though, and I definitely like competing more than judging”
When asked one word to describe her experience:
“Ummm…help! Think of a good word to make me sound smart!”
Amelia: “Wait let me ask Siri!”
Isha: “Ummmmm learning experience.”
Divya Sasidhar, sophomore: “There’s such a culture that surrounds the speech and debaters and its really like a little community and its really fun to be a part of that. I did extemporaneous speaking during my first competition, and it was terrifying as —-. I was about to cry. But I learned a lot!”
Oriana Cruz, Junior: “This is my third year doing speech and debate. I think it’s a different perspective and you learn a lot more about being a judge, what they think, and what you can do to please a judge.”
When asked one word to describe her experience:
Overall, the novices did an amazing job! Several of them placed. They were well spoken, composed, and ready to compete. Speech and debate is not an easy extracurricular and it requires courage and persistence. We would like to say good job to all of the novices, and good luck to the Speech and Debate team for the rest of the season!
Image Credit: https://phillipbantz.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/gavel.jpg