South’s speech and debate team competed at districts on March 8 and had three members qualify for State. Enrique Flores ‘19 and Luke Suh ‘20 qualified in the category of parliamentary debate and Angelique Prater ‘20 in extemporaneous speaking, and will compete at State in April.
Districts is a speech and debate competition between all of the Salem-Keizer schools. Depending on the category, members competed as teams or individuals against as many as nine other students or five other teams. From each category, only two teams or individuals could qualify for State.
“I think our team went to the District competition and did the best we possibly could, and I’m extremely proud of everyone who showed up to compete,” Flores, president of the speech and debate team, said.
There are 18 categories of either Speech or Debate that members can compete in. South competed in four categories at districts including oratory speech, impromptu speaking, extemporaneous speaking, and parliamentary debate. Speech events consist of one person presenting on a topic, while debate events include two or more people arguing with facts and research.
As a team, Flores and Suh placed first in their category and Prater placed second as an individual. Sreyes Susarla ‘21, Grace Borden ‘21 and Emily Hargis ‘21 received certificates in their categories, but did not qualify for state.
South’s team, now at 15 members, has grown greatly in size since last year, when it had roughly six members. The team is advised by Rob Wood and they meet twice a week.
“We’re very diverse. We all have different things to offer and it really differentiates us from the competition,” Emilie Chau ‘21 said, about the strengths of the team.
Last year, South did not send any members of the debate team to State. The highest placing team South had at districts last year was Everett Gutterman-Johns ‘21 and Emily Hargis ‘21, who placed third in parliamentary debate.
Speech and debate helps students improve their critical thinking, communication, persuasion and organization. It also gives students the opportunity to receive constructive criticism on their performance from judges.