The Debate Team Competes in UIL


Submitted by Mallory Russell

The debate team outside their latest competition.

Julia Fender, Staff Writer

Johnson’s debate team is a great example of working toward future goals in and out of school. Led by government and debate teacher Jude John, the team continues to grow. John has led the debate team for two years, and he participated in speech and debate himself in high school. 

“I had to learn a lot quickly,” John said. “Building something like this up takes a lot of time. A lot of effort.” 

The team recently competed at a UIL competition on March 27. There are many different events in these competitions, some of which even include prose and poetry recitations. The competitions are all about the speaking and presentation skills, as well as depth exhibited by the participating students. 

“It’s kind of like a mini one act play,” senior member Bella Bille said. 

The debate team works to improve students’ confidence and speaking skills. Many students who hope to study law in the future partake in the UIL competitions to gain experience. 

“Something that’s really incredible that I see for everybody is that no matter what your event is, speaking skills will help you with a ton of other things beyond this,” John said. “You’ll see people be more knowledgeable about certain things, knowledgeable about current events.” 

It can take a lot for people to gain the confidence to speak in front of a panel of judges and be scored as well as speaking in front of their peers who are also competing. However, the members of the debate UIL work to move past this and reach their highest potential. 

“I motivate myself,” senior member Itzel Rios said. “I have this self talk, self speech and then I’m like, ‘let me go get coffee first.’”

With John primarily teaching seniors, he sees a lot of potential for succeeding in debate in students when it is already too late to put them into the team. Nonetheless, the debate team plans to expand over time and achieve great things. 

“There’s a lot of people that I see in the student body of Johnson that I know would do well in something like this but they don’t know about it,” John said. “One thing that I want to do is be able to access and talk to more students that I think have the potential.”