Forensics Team Ready to Compete

Some people are born to speak. Their voices are confident and strong as they lead their audience through convincing arguments, carefully worded speeches, or emotional writings. Some people strive to build this talent, spending countless hours refining the art of public speaking, constantly working towards their goal.

These people belong to Doherty High School’s Speech and Debate Team.

Speech and Debate had its first meeting on September 1, 2021. They meet every Wednesday during lunch to prepare for future competitions.

“We will compete once a month, and if we have students that make it to state and nationals, the competitions continue until June,” staff advisor Jenny George explained. “There is a novice meet at the end of October that our new competitors will compete in.”

These competitions can last a few hours or all day. For students, most of that time is spent eagerly waiting for their turn in front of the judges. This waiting is done in a large room or cafeteria with their teammates and the other schools. Once called in, they deliver their performance based on the competition they are participating in and then return to find out if they made it to finals.

While the competitions can be stressful, the act of preparing for and completing these competitions can build helpful skills the students can retain and use in future situations.

“​One of the most important skills for students to build is confidence. Students get more confidence with hard work, time, and practice,” George stated. “The skills from Forensics will definitely help students. Public speaking opens all sorts of doors”.

Senior Anika Barr can attest to this.

“Speech and Debate has given me more confidence in public speaking and writing,” Barr reported.

In addition to the important skills it can build, Speech and Debate also provides a place for students to feel connected and included.

“[My favorite part] is definitely the positive community we’ve created within our school and the region within the competitions,” Barr added.

Like most clubs, Speech and Debate had to work around the 2020-2021 school year and the restrictions that came along with it. Most competitions were online, with students submitting their speeches through videos and other resources. This year they are hoping to return to normal and once again be able to perform in person.

“The returning students did the entire year last year online, so I know they are excited to see old friends and to compete in person. So far, it looks like at least some of our meets will be in person,” George explained.

With all the amazing things Speech and Debate has to offer, participation is not without its challenges. Students who are in the club have to work hard to achieve their goals and give their all towards the “memory” and “dedication” the club requires.

“The hardest part is the long days and the amount of preparation required, but the results show that our students really appreciate having a chance to share their passion,” George said.

Keep an eye out for the Speech and Debate team as they talk their way through competitions this year! Any questions regarding the team can be directed to staff advisor Jenny George or co-captains Anika Barr or JaHaun Thompson.

“Anyone can join us,” George ended. “There are about ten different events you can choose from, and I will see if I can find one that would be a good fit for you.”