Debate tournament at Northwest brings out the competition

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Debate tournament at Northwest brings out the competition

Aidan Bennett and Menna Ibrahim

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Every year, the Northwest Guilford High School Speech and Debate Team hosts the Guilford County Challenge debate tournament; this year marks its 14th successful year of operation.

Over 500 competitors from around North Carolina took part in the tournament, vying for top prizes in debate events like Public Forum and Lincoln-Douglas, as well as speech events such as Original Oratory and Dramatic Interpretation of Literature.

After weeks of preparation for the day itself, the Speech and Debate Team, captained by senior Lilac Thompson, staffed the tournament on Saturday, Dec 10.

“There was a lot of setup involved, and it was hard work, but everyone pitched in and we felt really good when the day of the tournament came around,” Thompson said.

Tournaments are always stressful days for competitors; however, it’s just as hectic, if not more so for those working it. Between dealing with pairing problems, keeping judges satisfied and making sure missing competitors don’t miss their round of events, working a tournament can get very overwhelming, especially for the student leaders.

“At the tournament the other leaders and I work to make sure everything goes well and the other team members are doing what they need to. We work to make sure competitors and parents know where they’re going, have food and have all their questions answered,” junior Capri D’souza said.

Despite the hard work, D’souza asserts that she “loves being a leader on speech and debate” and that “it’s great being a leader on a team that [she] loves.”

For some, like freshman Emma Carson, the tournament conducted last Saturday was the first of many.

“I was worried it might be a bit chaotic and that I wouldn’t be able to keep up but that wasn’t the case,” Carson said. “It was actually kind of fun, though my feet were sore afterwards.”

For others, the tournament marked the end of an era. Seniors, who have been a part of the Speech and Debate Team throughout high school, have the chance to reminisce on the years they spent hosting the GCC tournament.

“I got close to those I worked with. It created more of the family that Speech and Debate should be,” senior Sydney Kugel-Humphrey said.

Many of those who graduate out of the speech and debate “family” never really grow out of it, and come back in following years with the desire to judge the next year’s competitors.

“The team had and still has a huge impact on my life and I love to be able to help out and spend time with alumni [as well as] the team,” former speech and debate student Gabrielle Smith said.

All in all, team members and competitors alike agree that this was a fantastic tournament.

“I think it went pretty smooth,” Kugel-Humphery said. “No tournament is ever perfect, but this one was pretty close.”


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