An Inside Peek With Speech and Debate Culture

An Inside Peek With Speech and Debate Culture

Ever wonder what’s going on behind Mr. Rumsey’s classroom up in D203? What makes the success behind the our school’s back-to-back state champions? Well, although our team is very big and very creative, there is more to it than talented debaters and eloquent speakers. When asked the captains of the team about the glue that holds the team together, the one uniformed answer that was given was “culture”. Arizona College Prep High School’s Speech and Debate team prides itself on their culture and their ability to connect with one another, from veterans to novices.

The Big Picture

In Speech and Debate, Mr. Rumsey tells us to think of “The Big Picture”. This means that instead of fussing about tiny details, we should try to look at how those details fit together into, well, a picture! For example, at a tournament during the preliminary rounds, I was ranked first and second in my first and second round. However, on my third round, the judge ranked me last, which made me unable to go onto the next set of rounds. While I was initially disappointed at my last ranking, I was able to look at big picture and realize that I had improved a lot over the course of a year since I had never received such high rankings before.

Iron Sharpens Iron

The phrase is inspired by how Roman soldiers would help their fellow soldiers sharpen their swords using their own swords. The transfer of the metals from one sword to the other, to paraphrase what Mr. Rumsey said, signifies how on the team, the students should teach and model their best qualities for other people to learn from. Students often learn best from each other compared to learning from the adults in their lives so as the lower classmen grow and traverse through their high school career, it is not only up to the upperclassmen and the veterans to set an example, but also their friends and fellow speech and debaters to be responsible for their actions as they can influence other people. An example that embodies this account of influence and responsibility is how during the first few weeks of school, where the culture of the team is being introduced to the novices of the current year, the captains set down a few ground rules during their training presentations on how to embody ACP’s integrity, even telling the novices that they represent our school and our team, which is why it is of utmost importance that all the members of the team be respectful toward other schools and their fellow teammates.

Since our school has grown a lot over the past two years-literally and figuratively-the Speech and Debate team believes now more than ever that the culture of the team is valued as the main priority above all else. A team’s culture embodies the values of not only the members, but also the school. Even though we might be back-to-back-to-back state champions, that is not an excuse for us to treat others poorly, including ourselves. Using principles such as the Big Picture and Iron Sharpens Iron, we can set guidelines and standards that allow us to encourage growth in our fellow Knights and for us as well. With that being said, even though our motto is to strive for the impossible and be extraordinary, we should also remember to not let our setbacks define us and our peers, but instead use them as milestone and opportunities for our personal evolution as individuals.