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Speech and Debate

Maddie Jones, Staff Writer

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Last year, the Harriton Speech and Debate Club qualified for States, and six of their speakers won awards at that event. We were able to catch up with senior and captain of the speech team, Nick Wert, to discuss their success last year and their goals for this years events.

Harriton Banner: Describe the Speech and Debate club.

Nick Wert: The speech and debate club is a place where Harriton students go to stimulate themselves intellectually and work on their public speaking and debating skills in a competitive format.

HB: What led to your success at states last year?

NW: Overall, I think that our success was due to the amount of preparation all of the competitors brought to States last year. We are at a disadvantage at States mostly because some of these school have a speech and/or a debate class that they take and then bring into competitions. Since we only meet once a week, sometimes we’re in over our heads. Last year though, we definitely held our own.

HB: Have you had any speech and debate competitions? How have they gone?

NW: Generally, there are tournaments twice a month that other schools in our region hold for practice for the district qualifiers. We’ve done very well at those competitions, raking in several top 3 finishes across the board in speech. I, personally, am the captain of the speech side of the club, so I cannot speak for how well the debate side has gone, but from what I’ve heard, they’ve also done well.

HB: What are some goals you are hoping the club can achieve this year?

NW: Every year we only have one or two members from either part of the club make it past the first round of their event and into the quarterfinals of States. This year we’re looking to double that number, and hopefully in the future get to the point where everyone gets past that first round.

HB: Who should participate in speech and debate?

NW: Everyone should join the club, but especially those who want to work on their public speaking in a variety of events (including debate) and want to throw a little competition into the mix. The competitions drive you to want to become better at your event, and there’s nothing better than being called in as first place for your event after a lot of hard work.

HB: Is it too late to join speech and debate? If so, what should people know to join in the future?

NW: Generally, prospective members should look to join at the beginning of the year so you have the greatest amount of time as possible to work on your piece or debate, but really until the district qualifiers, you will be able to join. Next year, prospective members should look to join before Thanksgiving Break in order to maximize this time and bring their pieces into those friendly tournaments.

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The School Newspaper of Harriton High School
Speech and Debate