Speech and Debate has Issues

Speech and debate is a club that students can join in middle school or high school to compete against others. Even though both activities are apart of the same club, but both parts of speech and debate are different in many ways.

Speech has many categories, including:

Declamation: a written historical speech you got from the internet or a book and recite it from memory

Original Oratory: a written speech by yourself and recited

Extemporaneous: a seven-minutes speech you have to write thereafter getting given an impromptu topic and a computer on current events

Interpretation: a dramatic or humorous story and/or play and recited from memory

Debate does not have as many layers compared to Speech in the middle school. Debate options include:

Big Question: morals and philosophy getting debated between two-person/groups

Public Forum: a world-wide, political debate between two groups

Mrs. Courtney Polcar, the speech and debate coach, has been working in this club for four years. “I continue to be in awe of how awesome the speech and debate team kids are. Devoting their Fridays after school and all day on Saturdays for competitions are pretty unique and special. I am so proud of the student’s dedication and work ethic,” said Polcar.

Being the coach, Polcar has to know what each of the groups of speech and debate are doing, and it is no trivialization that Polcar is the best person for this job. As she is an English teacher, she also has a daughter who was in speech and debate in middle school, who loved it.

Elizabeth Partain, who has done a public forum for one year and is continuing this year, said, “It’s an amazing way to improve your people and speaking skills.” Putting forward more than about six hours a week this close to the competition is an understatement for Elizabeth.

James Wilkinson, a first year participant, is trying out declamation. “I put several hours a day and in the morning before a competition to keep [the speech] fresh in my mind” he said. Wilkinson also has many opinions about it including, “Speech and debate is amazing, but then again it is very stressful.” Having an entire historical speech to memorize is very hard when it comes to having many things to juggle.

A total of eight middle schoolers placed during the Dec. 7 tournament. James Wilkinson earned first place in Declamation with his speech by Winston Churchill. Libby Cain and Alexandra Scharpf were the top two Big Question Debate Competitors with Cain winning a second place and Scharpf winning first. James Rose and Samantha Holtz took a tie with their extemporaneous speeches and Jason Cheng blew the judges away with his speech getting first in extemporaneous. And the first time champs, Will Asplin and Luke Mitchell took first place in middle school public forum.