Debate Team Makes It To Semifinals At Lake Travis


Lilly Posada

The Debate Club poses for a picture at their after school practice on Sept. 28.

Daniella Moreno, Staff Writer

The Debate team traveled to Lake Travis High School for their first debate competition on Sept. 17. Eleven students competed, but only two made it to the semi-finals. 

“Considering that we haven’t been competing in these types of events for too long and this is our first competition, that’s not half bad,” debate coach Jude John said. 

At the Lake Travis Tournament, semifinalist and sophomore KC Edwards competed in preliminary and semifinals for Extemporaneous Speaking. Junior Mallory Russell made it to the semifinals for the Prose event. 

“I think a lot of us could’ve done better than we did,” Russell said. “Last year, toward the end we were all doing really well but you go through summer and you haven’t [practiced] in awhile.”

Russell said the best moment of the tournament was seeing the text that she got into semifinals. 

“Even though it’s only first competition, getting that text, it was surreal,” She said. “Especially because there were almost 30 people competing in Prose and only 12 go to semi finals. So it was like wow, maybe I did do something right.”

Russell said it’s okay for the team to be sad about the competition, but debate is one of those things where there isn’t a single person who has won every single round they’ve ever done.

“It’s like playing a sport, if it’s your first time playing, you’re not going to be any good at it,” Russell said. “It takes practice, practice, practice.”

The debate team will compete again on Oct. 15 at the Jack C Hays UIL Hawkoween Tournament where students can wear costumes at the tournament.

“I’m so excited to dress up as a plague doctor,” Edwards said. “We’re going to have to take so many pictures.”

To prepare for tournaments, the debate team practices speaking and getting materials all together for their speeches. 

“We’re still learning everything, getting used to everything, trying to get some practice in because the key to doing better is repetition,” John said. 

Debate 1 teacher Mandy Tremaine said debate is the single most valuable elective, she feels exists as far as preparing students for the future. 

“I think my students look forward to coming to class even though it requires hard things,” Tremaine said. 

When debate first began in 2019, Russell said the team wasn’t able to practice a lot and their first competition was a district competition on zoom. 

“It was cool to be on the district team, but none of us did good,” Russell said. “It’s more of a team aspect now, whereas then it was just a class people were taking. Now it’s like if you’re in it, you want to be in it.”

If students want to join the debate team they will have to enroll in the Debate 1 class.

“The big thing is debate has something in it for everybody,” John said. “People can find value in it, no matter what. There’s a bunch of things you can do and there’s something in it for any type of person, from your theater kids to your history nerds.”