Debate prepares for state, forensics season approaches

Kaitlin Clark, Entertainment Editor

After months of hard work, the efforts of the debate team are preparing to pay off. Three debate pairs will be competing at the upcoming state tournament, an achievement other high school debate teams continuously strive for.

“I think we will do pretty well at state and we will be successful if we work hard in the weeks to come,” sophomore Megan Keenan said.

Keenan and her partner sophomore Alison Payne will be competing at state along with sophomores Will Bannister and Caden Hickel and senior Lily Colburn and junior Jered Zhang.

The state tournament is one of several larger competitions coming up for the debate department, which include the Kansas Debate Classic, or KDC competition. Four partner pairs will be competing in the KDC tournament.

Following the end of the first semester, state competitors will focus on preparing for the competition by putting together different cases, or arguments, that may be used at the tournament.

Students who are not competing at the state level will soon be shifting their focus to the upcoming forensics season.

The new season provides students with the opportunity to work on skills more suited to the realm of forensics, creating a new experience with the same people and classroom as before.

“The debate team totally loves forensics because there are debate things you can do but they’re different as a whole,” sophomore Cailyn Sorton said.

The structure of forensics is one major element that sets it apart from debate. While debate almost always includes partner pairs competing together in a tournament or setting, forensics consists of a lot more individual work.

Even with the winter break fast-approaching, the debate and forensics students are still hard at work preparing for the new semester by separating into novice and advanced groups to better match the skill level for everyone in the class.

“For the novices, we’re just teaching them about all the different [forensics] events so they can figure out what they want to do,” junior Blaise Hayden said. “For advanced kids we’re just getting prepared, like starting to write our speeches, picking out pieces for interpretation events, stuff like that.”

While students have enjoyed the past months of the debate class and tournament season, they are ready for the new challenge that forensics brings with it.

“I personally love forensics,” Sorton said. “It adds variety and really gets you the [forensics] points you need for the [National Speech and Debate Association].”

The end of debate does not, however, mean the end of new bonds between both teammates and competitors. A new tournament season allows for the further growth of these connections, forging closer connections between students.

“I really love the people on the team and others that I meet while competing,” Hayden said.

Even though the end of the semester brings with it the end of a well-loved class, forensics students are looking forward to the fun and unique opportunities that the new season will bring will bring with it.

“I’m really looking forward to forensics,” Keenan said. “I’ve already started brainstorming ideas for my oration.”