Debate team takes commitment
Alyssa Boyd, staff writer
March 25, 2012
Filed under Student Life
The tension builds; the room, filled with anticipation, becomes stuffy. Two teenagers, dressed in their suits and ties, walk calmly to the debate stand at their podiums and state their topic.
“Speech and Debate is a great way to meet new people, become more knowledgeable, prepare for my future, and provides me with a place where arguing is looked up upon,” junior Alauna Sessoms-Hall said.
Statistics show that more people would rather die than speak publicly. three out of four people suffer from speaking anxiety. However, the Speech and Debate team has been up in coming for years.
“It’s a great way to get over your fear of public speaking. It’s also a lot of fun to debate over current issues, act crazy in front of audiences, and meet new people at tournaments,” senior Kurt Dragomanovich said.
Zack Kopecki, coaches the Enochs branch of Speech and Debate for three years. He teaches Beginning Speech, students who are just starting off and do not participate in competitions, and Advanced Speech, which competes regularly. He hopes for more students to ballot for Speech next year.
“Mr. Kopecki is an amazingly talented coach who has helped me immensely to improve my performances and rally the team together to work as a team should. He’s a large part of our overall success,” Dragomanovich said.
Students and Mr. Kopecki stay after school and give up their weekends, to prepare for the various competitions by “good, old rehearsing to a wall.” they practice with each other, and spend time at home practicing.
“Mr. Kopecki makes it (speech and debate) more fun by lightening the atmosphere with his various jokes and overall personality,” Sessoms-Hall said. “He helps us and gives us great advice.”
This year, the team has competed/will compete in six league tournaments, three invitationals, two state qualifying tournaments, one national qualifying tournament, and the state and national competitions.
“Speech and Debate takes a lot of time and commitment, but it is worth losing because the people are all astounding and berserk,” senior Ebony Milbury said. “The team helps each other and we are all tight knit.”
Sessoms-Hall has been studding on the team for two years. She, like many, participates in National Exempt, Impromptu, Lincoln Douglas Debate, and Public Forum Debate. She won first in A-LD and third in Impromptu.
“The feeling of accomplishment when your name is called for first or second place at the awards ceremony. There’s nothing like that feeling anywhere else,” Dragomanovich said.
“I am more knowledgeable and insightful about current events,” Seeoms-Hall said. “Now it is easier for me to publicly talk.”
Participation on the Speech and Debate Team makes you more competitive for college acceptances, scholarships, and jobs.
“You break out of your shell,” Dragomanovich said. “You’re forced to be confident and relaxed in front of an audience and judges. It’s a lot of pressure, but in the end, it’s a whole lot of fun.”
Overall, the team is “small but strong.” This year the team is doing well and almost the entire team is going to state this year. Some of the various activities that the team will be participating in are Original Prose and Poetry, Impromptu, Humorous Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, and Original Advocacy.
“Each of us has our own strengths and weaknesses, and we all help each other improve our performances to achieve the best possible results overall,” Dragomanovich said.
So far, the team has done exceptional. The team has competitions almost every weekend until the state and national competitions towards the end of the school year.
“Speech and Debate is life; the rest is just prep time,” Sessoms-Hall said.