Northwest Speech and Debate tournament is a success

Seniors from speech and debate pose after the last competition Feb. 9.

Seniors from speech and debate pose after the last competition Feb. 9.

At 5 a.m. on a Saturday, most students are still sleeping. However, Northwest’s speech and debate students were preparing to attend a tournament at Fayetteville Technical Community College the morning of Feb. 9. 

At 6 a.m., more than 25 students gathered onto a bus and for the next two hours, they worked on their cases, talked with friends or went back to sleep. When they finally arrived at the tournament, along with many other schools, they sat in the student common area and waited for their rounds. The room buzzed with anxious chatter of all the participants.

First round started. Public Forum debate went with their partners to debate the resolution: The United States should end its arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Single Lincoln-Douglas debaters went to their rounds and debated the moral resolution: The United States ought not provide military aid to authoritarian regimes.

Congressional Debaters sat in a chamber for two to three hours debating bills.

Second round passed and lunch came. Northwest students, and other North Carolina schools alike, discussed their rounds, opponents and new arguments.

Third and fourth round passed and then awards came. Northwest High School received multiple awards.

Areen Dabadghav won best Novice Congressional Debater. In congressional debate, senior Matthew Brewbaker won fourth place and senior Brennan Maynard won third place.

Sophomore Ed Pena won an honorable mention in Novice Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Seniors Thomas Altmann and Nick Riddles won first place in Varsity Public Forum debate.

“Personally, I never go into a round expecting to place,” Brewbaker said. “I always feel that’s how you psych yourself out.”

But speech and debate isn’t all fun and games. People put hard work into their cases.

“I generally spend twenty hours a week writing bills,” Maynard said. “And for this tournament, I had gone against many of the people before, so I knew I was capable of placing.

Many debaters just go in and try their best. According to most people in speech and debate, the key is to go in confident, but not cocky, because cockiness ultimately leads to downfall.

“I did not expect to place, definitely,” Riddles said. “But I didn’t expect to win; I thought I might go three-two.”

When in fact Riddles and his partner, Thomas Altmann, placed first for his last tournament, Riddles said, “I think I went out on a high note.”

While speech and debate may be hard work, the students agree it is worth it in the long run.

“Once I get into a round, my mindset changes from anxiety to empowerment,” Brewbaker said. “I find it better to go into a round ready to debate, not win. Don’t get me wrong, though– getting a trophy at the end of the day is still nice.”