Speech and Debate team sweeps competition at Patterson Mill


Members of last year’s Speech and Debate team sport their new shirts as well as their awards from finals. These members all participated in Wednesday’s competition.

Grace Kim, Online Chief

The Speech and Debate team came, spoke, and conquered.

On Wednesday Nov. 9, the Speech and Debate team competed at a tournament at Patterson Mill High School against all the public schools in Harford County. The team walked away from the competition with 12 ribbons total.

“This was the biggest turnout we ever had, [we had] the most contestants and most ribbons,” Speech and Debate team moderator Robert Schick said. “This last tournament, almost everyone entered what’s called ‘individual events.’ It’s not the debate part of it. It’s the speech presentation part of it.”

The Speech and Debate team entered nine different competitions and won awards in seven of them.

In Declamation, co-captain junior Martha Schick, co-captain senior Adam Kuester, and sophomore Megan Grieg took first, second, and third place, respectively. Declamation involves presenting a 5-10 minute selection originally delivered as a speech by its author. The Speech and Debate team took all ribbons for this category.

In Reader’s Theatre, Kuester with junior Thomas Gardner won first, and sophomores Casey Reil and Hope Kelly won second place.  In Reader’s Theatre, 3-10 participants deliver a 6-10 minute presentation that may employ all types or combinations of literature: movie scripts, prose, poetry, lyrics, play cuttings.

In Children’s Literature, Reil and sophomore Jessica Clingerman took first and second place, respectively. Children’s Literature includes selections of one or more pieces (thematically related) from published literature written for children.

Sophomore Kaley Martin placed first in Oral Interpretation of Prose, and Grieg and Clingerman won second and third in Oral Interpretation of Poetry. In these categories, a participant has 6-10 minutes to present a program that can include all forms of prose or poetry, depending on the event.

Sophomore Margaret McGuirk placed second in Original Oratory, and sophomore Madison Meyer took third for Dramatic Interpretation. Original Oratory allows the speaker to have a notecard of no more than 50 words to deliver a speech of his or her own making for 5-10 minutes. Dramatic Interpretation involves an individual or duo presenting a 5-10 minute program including selections in the form of a script.

In addition to those who won ribbons, senior Nandin Dave, junior Benjamin Swanson, sophomores Grace Leung, Julia Lindemon, Kayla Bynion, and freshman Erin Sullivan participated in the competition.

According to Leung, “It’s fun and you get to know your partner really well because you get to research your topic with them.”

According to Kuester, these tournaments are something everyone looks forward to. “Schools from all over Harford County gather to have some healthy competition, and along the way students make tons of new friends,” Kuester said.

“After we all present, free pizza and drinks are provided, and often we play group games like ‘Ninja’ and ‘Lazer Eyes’ while we wait for the scores to be tallied,” Kuester said.

The Speech and Debate team has a website with all of the events, rules, and a sample ballot for prospective students who are interested in participating to look at.  The site is www.JCforensics.blogspot.com.

“This [the Speech and Debate team] is the most fun group of kids you could possibly imagine.  They were singing songs to the bus all the way to the tournament and back.  The people that have been on this since last year start to know all the people they compete against…One of the judges made a note of that when she was giving awards, how cool she thought it was that we were helping other schools and other schools were helping us,” Schick said.

“I would love to see more and more people get involved with it, and see how they do.  It’s fun, it looks great on a college resume, [and] these are skills that will serve you well in almost anything you will do,” Schick said.

Grace Kim is Online Chief for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.

Additional reporting by Adam Kuester.