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The student news site of Smoky Hill High School

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The student news site of Smoky Hill High School

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Speech and debates prep and experience during state and national qualifiers

State Speech and Debate takes place on Mar. 1, followed up by the National Qualifiers Competition on Mar. 9
@smokyspeechanddebate via Instagram
State qualifiers for Smoky Hill’s Speech and Debate team.

Competitors from around the state come to the annual Speech and Debate tournament to show off the pieces they’ve spent months preparing while all having the common goal of being able to compete in National Qualifiers and in hopes of Nationals.

Preparing before students get to the state competition is the first course of action; depending on the events students participate in, they spend their time differently in preparation of the event.

“For me, I know it all comes down to practicing, and I know the end of the year gets pretty busy for me so I honestly just make it a point to take time to practice and recite my speech,” Hyo Jae Lee (11) said, an Informative Speaker on the Speech and Debate team at Smoky. 

While some competitors choose to practice out loud, others take a different approach to preparing.

“I normally just recite it all in my head, I feel like it’s something I just kind of do and it does help,” Adan Roy (11) said.

While some students are constantly reciting their speeches for practice, others have different methods they feel work best for them when it comes to performing for an event.

“Preparing for speech and debate competitions is not just practice, it’s more of initially learning and memorizing my speech and the movement that comes with it,” Senait Mills (9) said.  

While practice is a big part of preparing for competitions, the mindset behind it plays a large factor as well.

“I feel like having the right mindset going into a competition is just really important, you have to calm your nerves,” Lee said.

Getting in the right mindset is extremely important and the ways many competitors do that are different as well.

“For me, at least I noticed that a lot of the upperclassmen who are really good aren’t reciting their speeches before they perform, they all have their headphones in and are just trying to relax before,” Mills said.

The preparation before the competition is extremely important, as it pays off in the end.

For speech and debate competitor, sophomore Ethan Weins, the lead-up and preparation for the event ends up with a favorable outcome. Chssa Duo Ethan Weins and Maddison Gillespie onstage qualifying for National Qualifiers.

“I was really happy with how we finished, my partner and I actually only competed with our piece three times before we went to state,” Weins said. Ethan Weins and his partner, freshman Maddison Gillespie, took 9th in their duo for the state competition.

While the competition part plays a big role in State Speech and Debate competition, the experience of being there differs tremendously depending on what the competitors are looking for. 

“I really just enjoyed seeing people from other competitions that I competed with over the year and I enjoyed seeing people I’ve never seen before who are really, really good,” Mills said.

Senait Mills meeting new friends at State Speech and Debate.

State is not only used as a social opportunity but also as an experience to be able to grow.

“It’s just a big learning experience for me, and kind of showed me that this event is something I really wanted to do,” Lee said.

State is used in many ways to grow socially and mentally but it is also used to be able to compete in something not every student has the opportunity to have. 

“I just really enjoyed the experience and I really enjoyed doing something on a bigger level and being able to compete and give a speech,” Mill said.

The competition of speech and debate is used for many different things– from growing mentally and socially, to also reciting and learning things that may not be used or learned in everyday scenarios.

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