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Talking to Walls: A Little Bit About Speech and Debate

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Talking to Walls: A Little Bit About Speech and Debate


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By Josie Loos

A combination of roughly 120 kids are in speech and debate at LSW. Forensics is the combination of speech and debate, each group having unique requirements.

Students have been practicing for the season and are tournament ready. They have been preparing since this past summer for the season. It’s hard work, takes a lot of dedication, and requires them to talk to walls, but is worth it in the end.

The speech team starts out its season at Monday meetings, going over plans for the week, discussing upcoming tournaments and how to prepare for them. 

Speech events include poetry (PO), dramatic interpretation (DI), humorous interpretation (HI), extemporaneous, impromptu, OID, duo, oratory, theatrical interpretation (POI) and persuasive.

Each week students are expected to meet with coaches to work on their speech,.

“I’m a part of duo, dramatic interp, OID and impromptu,” said senior Lee Paulson.  “I spend around five hours a week working on my speech.”

Being a part of multiple events  and dedicating 5+ hours a week isn’t uncommon for speech kids.

Most kids sign up for coaching sessions at least once a week, where they meet with different coaches to go through their speech. Coaching sessions are only 30 minutes but it’s a major time for a students speech, since this is where most of the changing happens.

Tournaments usually take place on Saturdays. Beginning early morning, students in suits load onto a bus and are shipped off to another school to spend the day acting out their speeches in classrooms in front of five other participants and a judge. There are three rounds to go through until finals. Those who have received high scores in their rounds get to move onto finals.

The debate team at LSW is taking on a little over 60 students. In Preparation, the debate team begins its Monday meetings with the discussions of the most recent tournaments. They also gather their ballots and read through some arguments brought up at the latest tournament.

Public Forum, Lincoln- Douglas and Congress are the varying types of debate you can be a part of. Each discuss an array of topics differing on the month and require students to argue different sides.

During the week, debaters are also required to go to practices throughout the week, meeting with a coach.

“I practice around two hours a day, three or more days a week,” said freshman Cat Parc.

Debaters spend a considerable amount of time on their arguments and practicing for rounds.

Tournaments are different depending on what a student a part of. Public Forum starts with five rounds, leading up to finals where only two teams are left.

Lincoln- Douglas tournaments are similar but have longer rounds. Lincoln- Douglas also discusses their topic for a month longer when compared to public forum.

Congress tournaments consist of a bunch of congress debaters discussing different topics in one round, and occasionally rounds can move onto to Super Congress.Tournaments last full days and often lead into night .

Forensics has helped kids get out of their comfort zone, develop to bigger ideas, and get involved in school.

“It has become my life. It is what I spend any free time doing, but I am okay with that,” said speech coach, Matt Heimes.  “It is an activity that teaches such an important life skill. The importance of competent communication cannot be overstated.”

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Talking to Walls: A Little Bit About Speech and Debate