Debate team competes in fourth tournament this year at Madison Central


Susan Kelly

The OHS Speech and Debate team competed in the debate tournament at Madison Central. This is the fourth competition to take place this year, and the next one is scheduled to take place Nov. 10 at Desoto Central.

Nadeen Al-Ostaz, Staff Writer

OHS Speech and Debate brought home many different awards and titles from their tournament at Madison Central Oct. 13. Team members won sixth, fifth, second, and first place along with finalist and semifinalist in a variety of debating categories.

“What’s great about it is you’re with this team that you spend a lot of time on the bus and a lot of time all day at the tournament. They also meet kids from other schools when they go,” librarian and debate coach Susan Kelly said. “You get out of a round, and you end up having a conversation with the person you just debated against, and they make friends that way, so it’s nice.”

Kelly took over the competitions after debate teacher Barbara Lowe was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I have great respect for Dr. Lowe,” Kelly said. “It is an honor to travel with this outstanding team.”

While many of the students on the team take the debate class offered at OHS, there are some students who are not part of any of the classes that still compete.

“I felt less prepared certainly, but it was still fun because I knew all of the people,” junior debater Anneke Buskes said.

Buskes was a semifinalist in Extemporaneous Speaking alongside senior Josh Pearson. Extemporaneous Speaking involves being given a political topic that debaters have to give a speech on. The students have seven minutes to form and share what they are going to say.

“It felt pretty nice granted the event I participated in didn’t require that much preparation,” Buskes said. “I wouldn’t have been incredibly disappointed if I didn’t get to semis.”

Junior Gillian Meyers won first place in Novice Extemporaneous Speaking and was a finalist in Congressional Debate. Meyers is a novice on the team, considering that this is her first year on the debate team.

“It was just an extension of what I was getting in class so I really liked what I was doing in class, so I figured if I could do this out of school, that would be even better,” Meyers said. “Plus, you get to spend time with your friends and compete with all these people from different schools, and it’s just a really cool experience.”

According to Meyers, she was shocked at how well she did in the competition and was proud of the team as a whole.

“Our team was amazing. We have such good people on our team,” Meyers said. “Our whole team just did spectacularly, and I just think that the whole school should be proud of them.”

Kelly believes that debate holds many advantages, not only in school but later in life as well.

“It forces you to see both sides of the issue, and in life, there are two sides to every issue. You need to learn how to work with a group, how to work with a team, and debate is great for that,” Kelly said. “When you go to a debate tournament, you don’t know what side you’re going to have to argue. You might have to argue the affirmative side or the negative side, and you may not agree at all with the affirmative side depending on the topic, but you still have to argue for that side. So that’s a really good skill to have. It opens your mind.”