Speech and Debate’s Online Success!

While most of our lives have been put on pause due to the pandemic, there are a few people at our wonderful school that keep trudging on in the most creative ways possible. Whether they participate in clubs and activities over Zoom calls, continue playing sports while staying masked up, or organize engaging, yet safe events for other students, our very own Knights are beyond persistent in all that they do. However, there’s one group of kids in particular that consistently break the mold every time they compete; of course, I’m talking about Speech and Debate! During the past two weekends, the team participated in two different tournaments: the UofA (now known as U Arizona) Wildcat Cup and the Scorpion Spectacular. Unsurprisingly, they finished with the champion trophy and 2nd place at the respective tournaments. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to one of the team captains, Sebastian Javadpoor, about his individual and group success! Let’s get into it.

Q: What are some of the events that you participate in? Do you have a favorite?

A: I participate in Congressional debate, public forum debate, impromptu speaking, extemporaneous speaking, and duet acting. Personally, Congressional debate is my favorite because you get to debate together with so many people from your own team at the same time.

Sebastian Javadpoor

Q: How are tournaments working this year due to COVID?

A: Right now, all tournaments are online and done with a webcam and laptop. You just log on to what’s basically a glorified Zoom call, debate or give your speech, and then log out as you wait for what feels like hours for your next round.

Q: What’s the most rewarding aspect about online tournaments? What’s the most difficult?

A: The most rewarding aspect about online tournaments is, of course, the recognition at the end! Trudging through over 20 hours of speaking in the span of two days for that trophy or even some praise at the end makes the whole process so worth it. Meeting new people in-round is pretty cool, too! The most difficult aspect of these types of tournaments, however, is honestly the downtime. There’s so much stress when waiting for round results or seeing if you break to finals. With in-person tournaments, at least you could hang out with your team. Now, you’re just alone with your existential thoughts and crises.

Q: What efforts do you make to to keep up team morale as a leader?

A: Honestly, it’s all about keeping the novices engaged! I try to make all the impromptu and Congress meetings that I lead lowkey and not that stressful. To me, it’s more important that people are comfortable and engaged with the team than they are skilled within a debate format. While it is difficult with so many of us split between online and in-person classes, we try our best to keep that familial atmosphere.


Q: Finally, the most important question: If you had to lose one of your five senses, which one and why?

A: I’ll just lose my sense of smell. COVID already took it away, so I can live without it.

Well, Knights, I hope that you’ve gained some insight into the success and struggles that our wonderful Speech and Debate team faces. Hopefully, we can all keep up that optimistic energy within these trying times. Remember to strive for the impossible and be extraordinary, my friends!