By Theresa O’Connor
Arizona state champions 8 YEARS in a row?! Yep, that’s right. The speech and debate won eight straight state titles starting in 2003. While the school year is starting up, so is Speech and Debate Club. Although it was small last year, it is definitely expanding not just through high school but in middle school too. Speech and Debate is an all-year academic activity that will teach you many skills and help you in the future.
Speech and Debate is not just talking in front of an audience. It is about being able to research a topic, organize thoughts, and present your ideas clearly. Speeches are given to argue an economic topic and strongly state why you think a bill should be passed or not. Like speeches, debate is arguing a topic but you must write both a yes and no essay to support your opinion in a competition. This club also requires practice, research, and most importantly hard work.
Ms. Kuntzelman is this year’s new faculty representative. She was approached last year but thought it would be better to do it this year so she could learn the fundamentals. Now Ms. Kuntzelman is a dedicated member who understands how valuable it is to show students about current events happening in our world today. “Speech and debate is the only ‘sport’ that runs throughout the whole school year.” Ms. Kuntzelman said.
TPA’s middle school team coach is Mr. Joel Deciarcio. His children did Speech and Debate before they graduated, so Mr. Deciarcio decided to become the coach of the team.
Eighth grader Marzuk Hasan said, “I enjoy speech and debate because it allows you do critical thinking, research, and public speaking.” Additionally, he said speech and debate allows him to meet new people and make friends. Seventh grader Leila Soto also said, “It’s a good academic activity to learn more about other things that have happened in our world and it’s a good way to get into college.”
The high school Speech and Debate team’s coach is Erin Granillo-Walker. She used to do speech and debate in high school and now she is a freshman at ASU where she is on the speech team.
Co-captain Lindsay Newfeld said, “My favorite part of speech and debate is the competition. Our team attends about 12 tournaments each year and it’s a great learning experience to listen to other competitors’ speeches and to debate with really smart students from across the state. The trophies at the end don’t hurt either.” Being in Speech and Debate for four years has taught her speaking skills, how to think quickly, and how to present arguments logically. She suggests to middle schoolers that they choose one event and master it first. “In order to persue the activity you must be passionate about it.” Lindsay said.
Speech and Debate is a great extracurricular activity that will help you throughout your life. The high school team meets every Monday at 3 p.m. in room 404 and the middle school team meets every Wednesday at 3 p.m. in room 403. If you are interested, you should definitely go check this exciting club out!