Why You Should Join Speech and Debate


CHS’s reader’s theater group takes home 1st place at district competition in March of 2017

Mikayla Watkins, Editor

As a member of the Central Rebels Speech Team, I highly encourage every student with even a slight interest in speech and debate to join our team and to take the competitive speech and debate class offered at Central, and because I am a debater, I will be presenting a case on why every prospective student should do so. Let’s begin.

“Similar to athletic sports, speech and debate activities are challenging, competitive in nature, and require regular practice, coaching, dedication, and hard work,” states the National Speech and Debate Association’s website.

Competitive Speech and Debate is a class in which students prepare pieces for speech events and/or prepare debate cases and rehearse them with the direction of Mr. Weiss as a coach. The first semester of the class is focused on students choosing events in which to participate, selecting pieces to perform, and practicing for competition. The second semester is focused on preparing a reader’s theater piece for the district speech and debate competition.

Participating in speech and debate equips students with many valuable skills and is a fun hobby that creates lifelong friendships. It is for these reasons that I stand with the resolution, “Resolved: Participating in speech and debate is beneficial to every student.”

To begin, I would like to define two words in the resolution:

“Speech” is defined by the National Speech and Debate Association’s, also known as the NSDA’s, website to “involve a presentation by [one or two] students that [are] judged against a similar type of presentation by others in a round of competition. Speech events range from limited preparation events that require extensive knowledge of current events to dramatic and humorous interpretation, which challenge students to find powerful moments in literature and recreate them for an audience.”

“Debate” is defined by the NSDA’s website to “involve an individual or a team of debaters working to effectively convince a judge that their side of a resolution is, as a general principle, more valid. Students in debate come to thoroughly understand both sides of the resolution, having researched each extensively, and learn to think critically about every argument that could be made on each side.”

Now that the resolution is clear, I will continue with my contentions.

First, speech and debate equips students with many valuable life skills. As someone who has participated in speech and debate for four years, I have gained several skills that help me in my everyday life and my professional life.

Speech and debate has tremendously helped my public speaking skills (which also makes taking the public speaking class for college a breeze). I am normally a shy person, but I have no trouble speaking in front of crowds.

Not only have my public speaking abilities excelled, but my critical thinking and listening skills have also skyrocketed due to speech and debate. I have also learned to think quickly on my feet and to be confident under pressure.

All of these skills have been a major benefit for me while interviewing and competing for scholarships and will continue to benefit me when I interview for job, intern, and career positions in the future.

Second, speech and debate is a fun hobby that keeps participants out of trouble. I’ll be the first to admit: speech and debate takes a lot of work, but nobody should let that dissuade them from doing it! I enjoy the time I put into my pieces because it’s fun to compete. It’s the same reason why athletes put a lot of time and work into their practices and work-outs: they love it! Because so much time is invested in speech and debate, there is less time for participants to get into trouble.

One of the best parts of speech and debate is going to the competitions. It’s fun to be in a room full of students who enjoy the same hobbies as I do and even more fun competing against them. Before competing in every round, I enjoy getting to know my competitors so the competition is more lighthearted and we can all cheer each other on.

Lastly, many lifelong friendships are made in speech and debate. I have met many people over the past four years whom I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I even know some people who have found relationships in speech and debate.

Speech and debate has been a huge part of my life and has benefited me in many ways because it equips students with valuable life skills, is a fun pastime that keeps students out of trouble, and it creates lifelong friendships. It is for these reasons that I urge every prospective student to participate in speech and debate.

If you have any questions about joining the Central Rebel Speech Team, see Mr. Weiss or email him at [email protected]