Speech & Debates Road to Districts


Speech and Debate members at the MSHAA Districts tournament. Photo Courtesy: Brynleigh Hill

   Between after school speech practices and mock debate rounds, the speech and debate team has been putting in the work since the beginning of the year and are now ready for districts. 

    The MSHAA districts tournament was held at Willard this year, Junior Ty Curtis has participated in Speech and Debate since her freshman year and notes that there is a long road to get to districts and that a lot of work and effort must go in if you want to be successful. 

   “You don’t just automatically get a spot for districts; we all had to work really hard throughout the entire year to get to this point,” she said.

Senior Brynleigh Hill echos noting you need “lots of practice and hard work. I just started debate last year when I move here, and I immedietly fell in love with it, but I was nowhere near where I am now when I first started. I’d say the most important factor in my success boils down to staying after school a lot. I definitely owe a ton of the credit to my coach, Roberds, and to my teammates who’ve helped me and fostered my growth,” Hill explained.

   Curtis notes that a lot goes into being successful throughout the year. Many late nights are spent doing practices and preparing for the next tournament. 

   “We put in a lot of work every week, in class we are making cases for the latest topics, practicing our speech events and doing mock debate rounds. We all spend a lot of time working on everything debate related to make it to this point,” Curtis said. 

Senior Brynleigh Hill placed third in International Extemporaneous Speaking and became the district champion in Radio. They note what it felt like being on stage and finding out they would be names district champion.

“It was wonderful. I’ve had a lot of success in this event so far this year which I’m super grateful for, but I was really worried I wasn’t going to qualify to state, let alone be district champion. Seeing my teams faces all smiling and cheering when I took first place is definitely a moment I’ll never forget,” Hill said.

It has utterly ans completely changed my life. I am much more well rounded, educated, and an over all better person than I was before I joined the team. I know it sounds cliche, but the team really is like family for me. My teammates ans coaches have literally seen me at my lowest points and my very highest as well. Being taught not just about debate bit also life by [Coach] Roberds has made me the person I am today, and some of my favorite people on the Earth I wouldn’t know if it wasn’t for debate. Being on the team changed everything for me and I couldn’t be more grateful,” Hill exclaimed.

   This past year has been a big success for the team, with four teams getting a TOC (Tournament of the Champions) bid to be able to go to Nationals later on this summer.    Policy debaters Blaine Montford and Max McCullogh received three TOC bids for districts. To qualify you only need two.  Beyond that, 7 people got NITOC bids which are the speech version of a TOC bid, two of those seven people received two NITOC bids. 

   After the MSHAA districts tournament the team has NSDA districts which will be at Springfield Catholic High School on March 9-11. 

   This year will mark Coach Roberds’ last year with the team, as he will be focusing on furthering his higher education qualifications. 

   “We are hoping to qualify as many people as possible to Nationals this year, and hope to finish on a high note as this is also our coaches [Coach Roberds] last year with the debate team as he is going to focus on furthering his education, so this year we want to do even better than we have in previous years,” Curtis said.