Speech and Debate’s First Tournament of The Season


The back-to-back state champions are back at it again, with their overall second place achievement at the Maverick tournament hosted by Desert Vista High School on Friday, October 7th, and Saturday, October 8th. After an entire quarter preparing for this tournament, the team is back on train, and as Mr. Rumsey always say to the team, “The train is picking up speed and ready to leave the station.” The events that the members finalized in were Congress, Novice and Varsity Public Forum Debate, Novice Lincoln Douglas Debate, Children’s Literature, Humorous Interpretation, Duo Interpretation, Poetry Interpretation, Prose Interpretation, Program Oral Interpretation, Original Spoken Word Poetry, Radio Broadcasting, Impromptu Speech, Extemporaneous Speech, Original Oratory, and Informative Speech. Today, we’ll be checking in with Kristine Kim, the Original Oratory finalist, who placed 6th at the tournament, to understand how Speech and Debate has helped her grow as a person and the impact its made in her life.

Kristine is a junior, and in addition to Speech and Debate, she likes to spend her time playing tennis (fun fact: she plays on our school’s girls tennis team!), camping with her family, and even developing a hobby of baking at the moment. Kristine’s event, Original Oratory, is a memorized, persuasive speech with the intention to convince or inspire the listener to act in accordance to said topic. According to the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA), “The subject should be of political, economic, social, or philosophic significance and should be limited to a specific topic…The oration should be the result of research, analysis, evaluation and personal conviction. An oration is not an essay; it is a speech. Thus, emphasis should be placed on oral communication, and the student should remember that direct, communicative speech, not stilted or artificial delivery, is their goal.”

Kristine first encountered Speech and Debate when she was in elementary school in Korea. “I fell in love with debating and so, I continued Speech and Debate even after I moved to Arizona. Although the debate styles were a bit different, the adrenaline I felt in my debate rounds were nonetheless the same,” Kristine explains. She further justifies her continuation of Speech and Debate because “it opens up my eyes to so much more than the world that I am living in. It allows me to expand my knowledge beyond what I see, and I am able to surround myself with people who truly inspire me. Speech and Debate has allowed me to grow incredibly as a person because it challenges me to constantly test my limits. With these experiences from Speech and Debate, Kristine applies these to my life and persevere through challenges “especially because our team emphasizes hard work rather than trophies; Speech and Debate has helped me to feel proud of the progress that I make every time rather than my placement.”

Besides Original Oratory, Kristine also partakes in Lincoln Douglas debate and Impromptu. However, Kristine can’t help but admit that she does get nervous every time she gets up to speak. “For the Lincoln Douglas debate, you have your opponent attacking every word from your speech and for Impromptu, you have two minutes to plan a well-spoken five minute speech from a topic you just got. Sometimes I dread going to my rounds because I know it’s not going to be easy.” However, she understands that sometimes the anxiety she feels in intense situations are just how she and other opponents cope, and in order to overcome the anxiety, competitors have to realize that it’s never as bad as they think once they actually try it. “Of course, there are so many times that I absolutely crashed and burned, but I only got better from there every time. It’s such a valuable lesson I learned from these events that constantly pushes me to just… do it.”

This season in Speech and Debate, Kristine wants to take what she learned from her veterans last year as a novice and “maximize my experience from last year and polish my skills on the events that I chose to do this year. I am I am expecting to meet even more amazing people in and out of school through Speech and Debate, which thrills me. I hope that I will be able to perform at a higher level than I did last year, and I will definitely be putting in work for that. I just hope that when I later look back to this year’s season, I will be able to tell myself that I worked hard.” She’s off to a great start this year, and we can’t wait to see her grow and improve!

The Speech and Debate season is starting off this semester with tournament after tournament these couple of weeks, so make sure you show them your full support for what they do! It’s not always easy to put effort into your work and stick with it, but the hard work you put into what you do is worth it! Besides, what matters is the journey, not the outcome.