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Learn about the Seminole’s very own Speech and Debate Club!

Roshan Uy, Reporter

Having a debate team has always been a staple to most high schools across the United States. Not only is it a platform for intellectual arguments and discussions, but it also pushes students out of their comfort zones and helps them improve their public speaking. At Seminole High School (SHS), students have the opportunity to join the debate team and have this one of a kind experience.


Debating, contrary to popular belief, is mistakenly thought to be mindless arguments and shouting. However, this cannot be more false. Debate is a method of argument that is mentally stimulating. Both parties attempt to persuade each other while trying to determine the best course of action for a specific event. 


Roy Chen, a senior in the IB program and Public Forum Captain of Debate, explains: “The Speech and Debate Club is a club dedicated to offering a place for students to freely voice their thoughts about relevant issues today. We teach students how to organize their thoughts and express them in a concise manner. As students gain confidence, we encourage them to acquire practical experience speaking by participating in Speech and Debate competitions. Prospective students should expect an environment that encourages them to participate to the best of their abilities, but also willing to offer support if they are facing challenges within the club or in their personal lives.”


The Speech and Debate Club at SHS has been around for a long time now. However, it only became competitive three years ago, with Chen and Aryan Manohar, getting an invitation from Yale University to compete in their 29th annual debate tournament. Although they did not win, they shared it was undoubtedly a meaningful experience and they were esteemed to participate in the competition. 


Chen further shares his experiences in the club thus far.


“I am the Public Forum Captain of the Speech and Debate Club, and I have been part of the club ever since my sophomore year. Although our club has only become competitive three years ago, we already have two members that qualified for national-level competitions, a rare feat compared to other public schools within Seminole County.”


Chen continues to discuss the SHS chapter. 

“We currently have 16 members within the club. By the current trajectory of our club, we are expected to participate in several state-level tournaments. For our novice speakers, our goal is to train them to place in these state-level tournaments. For our varsity speakers, our goal is to propel them to enter national-level tournaments.”


When asked about what he likes most about the club, he states:


“The most fulfilling part about the Speech and Debate Club is seeing students gradually understanding the concepts of debate while gaining the confidence to speak extensively about any modern topics. I joined the club in the first place to speak more assertively, yet what I got is so much more: a supportive network of peers that not only encourages me to speak, but also offers constructive feedback for me to express myself more eloquently in the future.”


“It’s a great club to join,” states Marcela Galarza, a SHS senior who joined Speech and Debate Club last year. 


“I left because I have a lot of other after-school stuff, but if I can join it this year, I would. The officers are pretty chill, and they’ll always be there if you have a question. They teach you how to deliver a proper speech, and they make sure you are ready for the tournaments. I think there are two types of it, but I am not sure.”


Overall, the Speech and Debate is a great club to join. If you are an underclassman with a passion for writing, public speaking, and expressing your thoughts, then you should definitely consider joining this club!