Speech and Debate gains interest

   Sheridan High School’s speech and debate team has become more and more popular compared to last year. Only five students participated on the team last year. This year the team has grown to 14 members. 

   “We are getting interest from other people, and speech and debate is definitely growing in Wyoming,” says junior team member Nicholas Walton. The team meets every day after school, Monday through Thursday, and each member is required to make at least two meetings per week. During freshman orientation, recruitment for new members was strongly set in place in hopes that the team would gain more members compared to past years. As a result, a majority of the team are freshmen, and most of the freshman members are likely to stay on the team for the rest of their high school careers. The team is still trying to get other students to join and to help their club reach new goals and win more competitions. 

   In speech and debate there is a wide variety of topics to be discussed and many different ways to debate subjects. Many of the debates talked about are conversations that are relevant problems today, such as problems with the U.S. government, student life, and some topics even involve other countries and their arising issues. Students can choose if they want to debate alone or if they would like to present their position papers and their facts with a partner. These types of debates are referred to as a Lincoln Douglas debate or a PF debate. Participants also have the option of making solo speeches or duet speeches. Students tend to switch back and forth between a range of discussions and ways to present them to the judges. Each student can choose to participate in two events per competition. 

   Before going into a meet, the students have to put in many hours of preparation.

   “I think they’ve been amazing and I have had a lot of kids trying new things,” says Kim Ferguson Each student has to prepare a position paper or essay that clearly states their opinion and pieces of evidence that supports their side of an argument. Depending on the event picked by the student, some research is extensive while other topics only require a good construction of an argument. Some events do not even require an essay. All a student would need during this debate is a deep understanding of the subject and evidence. 

   The speech and debate team has made a lot of progress this year and coach Ferguson, along with the speech and debate team members, hope that the numbers continue to grow and strengthen their team. “We’ve got a good team right now, but we are always looking for more people to come and  join,” says Walton.