Please put speech and debate in the Vicksburg Warren School District

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, August 4, 2015

When I did a story about the Mississippi Mudbugs raising money to play at a tournament in Kansas, I ran across one of the assistant principals at Vicksburg High School. I asked if there was a speech and debate team at the school because I am looking to judge a tournament.

Sadly, she told me there isn’t a team at VHS.

Speech and debate isn’t just for people who want to act or debate an issue, but it can be for talented writers who might not have an outlet to perform original, in-depth pieces of work. You can also learn how to break out and become comfortable with public speaking.

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I had a blast the three years I participated in speech & debate. I met some really cool people from different parts of North Carolina I wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for this activity.

Now I’m not saying I was the best dramatic interpreter. I only placed once, but just like the NBAs Western Conference my team and the individual event was loaded with talented individuals.

I had a teammate make her judge cry because she performed her piece so well, how was I suppossed to compete with her natural skills and talents.

My team was stacked with competitors in the individual events – dramatic and humorous interpretation, duo performances, original oratory and impromptu persuasive arguments.

We were just as strong on the debate side. Congress, where participants sat in chambers for the tournament and debated policy, was the backbone of the team.

Competition and tournaments were intense, especially among rival schools from the county and our district. It was really bad when one person from a county high school single handedly beat my entire team, by placing first as we placed second, third and fourth. I hope speech & debate makes its way to the Vicksburg Warren School District, but it relies on the students’ interest in the activity. This could possibly be problematic because some students might not have been exposed to the activity and what it offers.

For some, speaking in front of a large group of people can be freighting, but I learned many tricks on how to get out of my head and feel confident when I speak. My diction improved greatly thanks to the three years I spent learning tricks to enunciate words. My favorite trick is to put a pencil or pen in between your teeth and say your speech or presentation. This trains your jaw, mouth and tongue to get used to moving in the direction it needs to be for the words to be clear and understandable.

Public speaking is an important part of life and it’s a skill that should be taught and improved upon at an early age.

It’ll come in handy on job interviews, speaking to a professor or new boss. It can also build confidence in being a well spoken individual.

I would love to see this activity apart of VWSD. Hopefully to be a judge or give advice to young debaters.