Debate team off to successful start


(from left to right) Sophomore Marawan Elghory, freshman Edward Hu, sophomore Edith Marie Green, junior Akshaya Vijaysankar, senior Dylan Howard, and freshman Toby O’Donnell pose with their awards at the first debate tournament of the school year.

Emma Scott, News Editor

The Speech and Debate team saw success at their first tournament of the 2016-2017 school year. Among the students who went, eight placed in their respective competitions. The tournament took place at Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg on Friday, Sept. 2 and Saturday, Sept. 3.

“It was amazing. This was the best start to a year I can remember in a long, long time,” debate coach Dr. Lowe said. “They went in with lots of enthusiasm. They prepared. They did a lot of work.”

The students who placed were sophomore Edith Marie Green, freshman Edward Hu and sophomore Marawan Elghory, senior Dylan Howard and junior Akshaya Vijaysankar, sophomore Gracie Beardain and freshman Toby O’Donnell, and freshman Stanton Spencer.

The students prepared for the tournament by researching information for their topics, rehearsing their speeches, or cases, and revising .

“We spent a lot of time working on our evidence,” Elgohry, who placed first in Novice Public Forum debate with his partner Hu and fifth place in Novice Extemporaneous Speaking, said. “We spent a lot of time with Dr. Lowe, so we could see exactly where we needed to be looking for our credible information.”

The debate members had to wait after the final rounds for the awards ceremony to find out who won, but the wait proved worth it for the team.

“It did not feel real for the past few days,” Green, who won first place in Varsity Lincoln Douglas debate, said. “When they called the other guy’s school for second place, there was an audible inhalation of breath, and then I started crying when they announced my name.”

Even though the students hope to win, many are just excited to debate because they enjoy being a part of the experience.

“It is absolutely fantastic to be part of the team, so I hope that I can prove that we are not just any normal competitors,” Elgohry said. “We are there to put up a challenge.”

The next competition for the team will be the Stennis Novice Tournament on Sept. 16 and 17 at Mississippi State University.

“I am a little nervous, but I feel like since I did so well I have proven that I am a good debater,” Green said. “Even if I do not do as well, it will still feel good because I am out there doing it.”

The students have received their comments from the judges and are now preparing for future tournaments. Lowe expects the team to continue to do well.

“Because we don’t have an audience, sometimes it comes down to whether you win or lose, if anybody even knows you were competing,” Lowe said. “I am just really proud of them. They have set the bar really high.”