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There’s No Debate Here, Forensics is Beneficial to Everyone

Molly Ith, Writer

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Olympia High School’s Forensics team is beginning its third season this year, and it’s drawing a lot of attention. Senior Gracie Anderson, President of the club, leads the team in practice and at tournaments.

When Tim Ahern, former athletic director, created Olympia High School’s Speech and Debate team in 2014, he intended for it to draw in many members. However, he was met with only a few; two of which (Depak Ganesh and Sonora Grimstead) graduated with the class of 2016. In October of 2015, the team gained more members, including Jamie Flynn (Sophomore), Maleah Upah (sophomore), and many more. But as the year wore on, they were left with only the event coaches and office holders; Somya Dudu (Treasurer), Jenny Jeong (Secretary) and Maryjane Norman (Vice President), making the grand total of members at the end of the year only seven. The team, who meets on Wednesdays after school in room 505, is hard at work prepping for the upcoming school year, and hope to be at Pacific Lutheran University from October 28th through the 29th for their very first tournament of the season, then at Gig Harbor High School November 4th through the 5th. The team is currently being coached by Mr. Means, the AP Psychology and World History teacher, who hopes that he can bring in more members and expand the team. The first two tournaments will be open to spectators, but afterwards only competitors are permitted, due to the lack of funds. To pay for the tournaments, the team will be having bake sales, and require members to pay yearly dues. To be in the team you must have an ASB card and pay the yearly dues, which are generally about five to fifteen dollars, depending on how many members there are that year; (The more people, the less you have to pay.)

When asked about her ultimate goal for the year as president, Anderson said “I want to create an environment in which students are encouraged to use their voice, exercise empathy, respond dynamically to the world around them.” pros of Speech and Debate include a higher chance of being accepted into universities (about 20-30% more), better social skills, and a broader understanding of the world as well as legal proceedings.  This year, the event captains are the most they’ve had, with Lincoln Douglas debate being coached by Holly Wetzel, Congressional by Claire Christensen, Individual Events by Molly Ith, and Extemporaneous by Dudu, this is to expected to be the best year the team has had, and a trip to the Washington State Forensics Tournament in March at the University of Puget Sound may be in their future seeing as there is a total of at least five awards in total between the seven of them from last season alone.

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There’s No Debate Here, Forensics is Beneficial to Everyone