The Speech and Debate Team Takes on the New Tournament Season


Before Speech and Debate students enter the competition room, palms sweaty and knees jittery, they release their nervous energy through endless, unceasing practice. They pace back and forth relentlessly, attempting to jam in that one sentence that doesn’t seem to stick. Equipped with hours upon hours of preparation, the students get ready for the tournament season that awaits them.

The Seven Lakes Speech and Debate team participated in its first tournament of the year at George Ranch High School on Aug. 30 and Aug. 31. The team left with numerous accolades, placing in events such as Foreign and Domestic Extemp, as well as Congressional House. Nonetheless, the path to get there was certainly not one without its hardships and obstacles.

“For George Ranch, I had completely lost my voice for both days of the tournament,” junior Janine Abad said. “It was difficult to communicate with my team and with anyone at the tournament in general. It had added to the stress of writing our cases, but we managed to get through it together.”

To prepare for tournaments, the members must constantly stay up to date with current events or create written pieces weeks beforehand. Yet even though the pursuit of success may have its difficulties, the members ultimately find comfort within one another.

“Stress, high expectations, and a lack of confidence are problems for me to some degree, but I find that having a great team and great friendships with other people who are going through the same things as you really help,” Abad said. “It was quite stressful leading up to it, but when we were there, it was interesting to be back in a tournament environment and see friends from other schools.”

For many first-year varsity members, tournaments present a looming sense of the unknown. Despite that, they were able to spectate — and even compete against — national champions and qualifiers at the first tournament. When looking back at the beginning of their journey in the team, the members are left with awe to see how far they’ve come in comparison to their novice year.

“I had no idea what to expect starting out since I had never even seen a debate round before,” first-year varsity member and sophomore Zara Jafri said. “But my friends actually helped me a lot by telling me how to do things along the way.”

At first, the transition to varsity seems a bit daunting; however, through inside jokes and shared experiences, the team finds joy in all of the stress.

“Navigating through the debate world involves a lot of crying, sleep deprivation, and coffee,” Abad said. “But I love it anyway.”