The Speech and Debate Club first started in 2015 when two former students of MHS, Harrison Zeiberg and Brendan Ky, asked history teacher Kurtis Scheer to help them debate competitively.
Scheer, the speech and debate club’s adviser, said the goal is to “give students an opportunity to effectively debate important issues and to communicate [their] arguments in a way that is convincing and persuasive.”
The club provides a competitive environment, utilizing skills in speech events that give students an opportunity to practice dramatic performances and recreations of significant speeches throughout history. In public forum debate, two people from each team are called upon to which case they are then given a topic and must defend the side that was designated to them. The second category of debate is congressional debate, which is exactly what you would find in the United States House of Representatives or the Senate. Speech events also include anything from poetry readings, dramatic performances, and group discussions, which is where students are given a question they must research about and then must have a group discussion to come up with a consensus.
Freshman Ester Xhindi said “[she] joined because [she] has always been interested in debating and because it will help [her] in [her] future career as a lawyer.”
The president of the club is senior Rasmee Ky. Ky joined in her freshman year and has continued to be a part of the club ever since. She said she joined because she had an interest for public speaking since middle school and she knew it was a skill that would benefit her in the future no matter what career she ended up in.
Ky said “[she loves] public speaking and by going to competitions [she has] the opportunity to push [herself] and improve [her] abilities. Plus, it is very rewarding to watch the team grow and see [her] teammates win competitions and have fun. [They] have a tight-knit team which is very supportive of one another, so seeing them succeed is even better than personally winning and [she is] very proud to be a part of it.”
Senior Sara Zakaria, who is also the editor in chief on the print edition of The Blue and Gold, is the vice president of the Speech and Debate Club. Although Zakaria wanted to join the club in her freshman year, she finally gained the courage to join last year.
Zakaria said “[she likes] the public speaking aspect of [the Speech and Debate Club] and the room for creativity. [She competes] in the speech part of speech and debate, and the speech category [she competes in] primarily is poetry reading. [She] had some experience with poetry reading, since [she] did Junior Varieties last year and [her] sophomore year. However, with Speech and Debate, [she is] allowed to express [herself] through various emotions, rather than just sticking to current events and politics. The club helped [her] break out of [her] shell and allowed [herself] to be emotionally involved in topics that mattered to [her].”
Despite the fact that Zakaria only joined the Speech and Debate Club last year, she has done a good job at helping it thrive. Zakaria said “[she helps] President Rasmee Ky in [their] weekly meetings and plan for future ones. [She helps] her plan for the possible tournaments [their] team can attend. [She] also [registers] competitors into Tabroom, which is the website where [they] register for tournaments. To be a President, V.P, or Secretary in the club, you have to be a competing member, so [she competes] as well. [She] also [makes] sure that [she is] as supportive as possible to everybody, especially the new members. A lot of people joined this year, especially freshmen. [She] seriously [admires] how passionate they are about the club already. [She thinks] they were born for Speech and Debate because they went in headfirst to competing, especially competing in debate. Most of the new members do debate, which is amazing, since [they] had a serious lack of debaters last year. [she wants] to give them as much support and confidence as the officers last year gave [her] as a first-time competitor.”