Debate’s busy start to 2020 season

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Kolby Lassen

The speech and debate team participated in a tournament.

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The speech and debate team is having a busy month, with three tournaments in three weeks. This three tournament whirlwind has kicked off in Peoria at the Scorpion Spectacular.

Perry’s speech and debate team members won many individual trophies. Clifford said, “We’re small, but they each have their own individual talents.” 

The next tournament is the Wildcat Cup, which requires the team to spend a night in Tucson. 

All of the speech and debate tournaments are two days long and begin early in the morning, requiring the team to “get up early and go,” according to Clifford, so it will be nice for the team to be able to get some extra sleep with the overnight stay. 

This tournament will be fairly small, so Clifford says “We have a good chance” of doing well and coming away with multiple trophies. 

As the team will be spending the night in Tucson, Stacey Cooper, an English teacher, will be accompanying them to assist Clifford with chaperone duties. Cooper’s attendance allows the team to take a bus, since she is certified to drive one and Clifford is not. 

After the Wildcat Cup is complete, the team has to shift focus to the Jackrabbit Jamboree that will be in Mesa. 

On top of all of the stress that goes along with these tournaments, which Yango said, “Takes us hours to prepare [for],” the debaters must miss the Fridays of the tournament weekends.

Due to speech and debate tournaments, Yango said, “I have missed about 6 Fridays this school year.” And she will continue to miss more, as she will be gone every Friday this month for more tournaments. 

Despite having so many absences, the debaters must still keep their grades up because Clifford said, “If grades aren’t great, I have to keep them home [from the tournaments].”

It can be difficult to balance both the tournaments preparations and maintaining good grades, especially when Yango said the “Team is very competitive” and driven to win. 

Even though being on the speech and debate team is very stressful and requires a lot of work, Yango said, “It remains an incredibly rewarding and valid experience, especially in terms of developing public speaking skills and learning about real world issues.”