Don’t Hate It, Just Debate It

Speech and debate’s adjustment to the new season

   After a year of online competitions and canceled practices, the speech and debate team is redefining themselves for the upcoming competition season. Senior Elizabeth Riedel, one of the captains of the team, has been working tirelessly to help the group adapt to getting back to in-person, live competitions. 

     “Speech and debate this year will hopefully be in person, which will be very exciting after last year,” Riedel said. “We’ll probably still be masking up at least for the gatherings and meets, but it’s still to be determined,” Riedel said.

     Because of COVID-19, all speech and debate meetings were forced to go virtual, highly constricting the fluidity and quality of certain events.

     “Speech events, like original oratory, informative, and interpretations, had to be pre-recorded. Other events, like the debates and extemporaneous speeches, happened over Zoom. It was a very large adjustment since so many of our events depend on being able to perform live. However, we adapted and made the best of a rough situation. I was able to compete at many more tournaments the past year than I normally would have, so there were some positives to come out of it,” Riedel said.

     Moving past the pandemic, the speech and debate program remains highly beneficial and valued among students in regards to gaining skills useful for life after high school.

     “Speaking from personal experience, I have been able to grow so much as a person by pushing myself to be more confident. Through competitions, you learn how to talk in front of others, command a room, conduct valuable and topical research, convey your arguments in a civil manner, and be more active in the happenings of the modern world. It’s incredible how much you can take from being in speech and debate,” Riedel said.

     One of the biggest benefits of joining speech and debate is the community aspect that it provides. The challenging yet enriching basis of the activity provides a beneficial outlet of communication.

     “Speech and debate is a community of people who strive to better themselves and their communities. It values intellectual conversations, healthy arguments, and a greater sense of connectivity to the world” Riedel said.

     After two years of being in speech and debate, Riedel has gained experience and has learned the ins and outs of the activity. Because of this, she has gotten familiar with the processes of it and the benefits of speech and debate.

     “My favorite part of speech and debate is the tournaments themselves. Meeting people from all over Colorado and being able to push myself past my comfort level in competition is absolutely a rush. It’s both fun and fulfilling, and I have been able to meet so many incredible people,” Riedel said.

     Senior Elizabeth Riedel is a proponent of speech and debate and encourages all those considering it to give it a shot.

     “Speech and debate is a commitment, but it’s one that I cannot recommend enough,” Riedel said.