Speech and Debate team takes on State


Courtesy of Spencer Niessner

Speech and debate team huddles together at Western Oregon University. During their free time at the competition, they had card games, food runs, Goodwill hauls and swam in the Best Western hot tub.

By Maddie Cooke, Multimedia Editor

The speech and debate state qualifiers began their journey to state at 5:30 a.m. in the Tigard parking lot, where they headed to Western Oregon University for the three-day tournament held from April 18 through April 20.

10 students this year qualified for state in speech and debate events, and eight competed in the weekend-long competition. The tournament was organized by the OSAA Speech and Debate organization, and the team’s expenses were covered by a grant awarded to Tigard.

Senior Kennedy Parish competed in Public Forum; she has been an active member on the team for four years. As the debate captain, she works hard to ensure that every member is prepared for the debates.

“My responsibility is to help teach my team members all about debate and to keep consistent communication between them with how to grow as debaters,” Parish said. “I usually compete in Lincoln Douglas and Public Forum debates, and at this tournament, I was Public Forum partners with Zach.”

Debate preliminary rounds were held on Thursday and Friday. By the end of Thursday, seniors Zach Holmes and Kennedy Parish were finished competing due to an unfortunate but laughable situation for their last tournament in high school debate.

“Although this was the most disappointing moment in a round, it was also my favorite,” Holmes said. “When we walked into our first round, thinking we were prepared to debate a topic that we were ready for, we quickly discovered that we had the wrong case for a resolution that wasn’t being debated at state.”

Holmes and the rest of the team enjoyed the larger pass-times between competing and bonding with the team. Monmouth is a small city in Oregon but a big part of the college town of Western Oregon University, so the team had lots of opportunity to explore the town and enjoy the Monmouth community.

“I had a good time getting ice cream with the team and being weird,” Holmes said. “I have great memories from doing speech and debate, and my biggest takeaway from debate was bonding with the team and learning public speaking and analysis skills.”

This was sophomore Kailey Harrold’s second time competing at state for the Duo Interpretation event. Her partner, sophomore Caroline Williver, was also competing in her own individual event, Dramatic Interpretation.

“Our Duo piece was about gingers, and the significance of that is, well, we’re both gingers,” Williver said. “It is a humorous piece that we both thought would be a fun way of incorporating something personal about ourselves in the piece that we performed, and then my individual Dramatic piece was about a little girl and her mother and her struggles dealing with substance abuse and domestic violence.”

Courtesy Maddie Cooke
Speech and debate team play a game of ‘Go
Fish’ to pass time at the three day long tournament,

Williver and Harrold used their experience from their previous year at state to help their performance this year. Although they were unable to advance from their preliminary rounds, the girls were proud to represent their district and enjoyed their time at the competition.

“Last year, going to state was very stressful and nerve-wracking as a freshman,” Harrold said. “This year, we have grown so much since then, so coming into state this year has felt much different than last year; there still was some of that uneasiness but not nearly as much or as close to the way we felt last year competing at this level.”

Harrold’s favorite part of competing was the opportunity to see more Duo pairs and the pieces they had prepared for state. There were over 30 schools who were representing their districts at state.

“The only time you ever see these people are usually at competitions, and so it was nice seeing these people, especially at state and at this tier of competition level,” Harrold said. “The relationships I have made with these people, some who I won’t see for a while, are special and pretty invested.”

One of Williver’s Dramatic Interpretation rounds was so emotional that her performance was interrupted, which caught her off guard.

“In the middle of my speech a girl started sobbing and crying,” Williver said. “It was alarming and also distracting, and I had to continue through it because I couldn’t stop.”

Overall, Williver has reflected on the growth she has had as a performer in both her individual and duo events. Above the results and distractions, they both found improvement from their previous year of competing and in this one.

“I think my partner and I have grown more as performers, and we also know how and what to look for in a piece,” Williver said. “We have also learned more about how to work better in our performances and we genuinely enjoy competing our pieces together.”

For the next year, Williver hopes the team will compete at more competitions to prepare and further their skills. Both girls also plan on increasing the number of speech and debate events they compete in.

“Overall, I hope to expand my abilities and try different events that can further my experience as a competitor,” Harrold said.