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The Battle of Wits and Persuasion

Speech and Debate’s latest victories and news

Recently, the team had their Regional competition on February 17, 2024, and their State competition on March 15-16. They placed 2nd in Region, and also did their best during State. With the help of their two coaches, the team was able to secure those spots.

“I am very proud of our placement. I think all the students went in and did their best! We have a relatively large team and earned a good amount of points,” Head Coach Mrs. Leslie McNeely said. “However, when it came down to it, Intermountain Christian School, who placed 1st in Region, had more competitors and placed higher in events.”

Speech and Debate has the potential to be the top dogs, but with the lack of people able to participate, it’s harder to place higher. During Regionals, they were fortunate enough to gain a large group, which is how they got 2nd, but State had even fewer people and was more difficult.

Cadet Storm and Payne as they practice on each other.

Mrs. McNeely continues, “The cadets on the UMA Great Debate Team are dedicated to their craft and have the determination to do well. As long as the students go into the tournament with good attitudes and stellar confidence, they will do an amazing job.”

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Confidence is a major key in the ability to win each event. Going into a competition with nerves is no surprise, but with practice, many of the team members learn how to turn it into confidence (whether it be fake or not). It’s a technique that many of the team uses to win their events.

“I usually like to research what I’m speaking about to grow more confident,” Cadet Sophie Rodriguez, one of the team members, said. “If it is something that correlates with what a person I know has been through or has the experience in, I ask them for information to help build my case.”

(From left to right) Cadet Zimora, Heeber, and Maples discuss their plans.

Unfortunately, Mrs. McNeely is retiring this year, and State was her last competition. Alas, she is ready to hand over the torch to Mrs. Storm and take a step back. She has taught Speech and Debate since 2008, and will now only teach the class.

Although the retirement of Mrs. McNeely is a loss to the Speech and Debate team, Mrs. Storm has selflessly stepped up to become Head Coach for the upcoming years, and accompanied the team for the State tournament. She is a great coach to the team members, and will be able to fill in the shoes Mrs. McNeely left behind.

Speech and Debate can’t be done without its team though, and every person does something different within both sections of Speech and/or Debate. Speech and Debate not only helps to formulate either arguments or confidence, but also public speaking skills and to spread opinions.

“I went into speech in debate because my parents pushed me to do it because it helps with speaking,” Cadet Rodriguez said. “I love that you can bring together people who are pretty controversial in what they think. Free thinkers with opinions that can change the world.”

Speech and Debate Captains, Mallorie Andersen and Coady Maples, pose as they get ready for Regionals.

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About the Contributor
Alexus Workman
Alexus Workman, Editor-In-Chief
Hello and welcome! I am Cadet A. Workman, and I'm the Editor-in-Chief for this year's Journalism class. It's my responsibility to run the website and upload articles for everyone to enjoy. This is my second year here at UMA as a sophomore, but I'm heavily involved in various programs across the school. I have great expectations out of my fellow reporters and plan to make our newspaper (specifically, our website) flourish. As always, I'm a glutton for gluten, and will accept certain bribes if offered. Let's go make this year our best!
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