NSDA Competition for Speech and Debate Starting Thursday


By David Bodden

This Thursday, March 10 marks the beginning of the National Speech and Debate Association’s (NSDA) competition for the Eastern District of Missouri, which includes FHN’s Speech and Debate Team. It will take place at Clayton High School Thursday evening, Pattonville High School all day Friday and will finish Saturday.

The NSDA competition this week consists of many rounds for different categories. If a speaker or a partnership of debaters loses two rounds, they are eliminated. The top two to four speakers or debaters move on. To win or move on generally will take about seven rounds, but it varies depending on the amount of competitors. If any members of the team make it, they will move on to Nationals, which will take place in Salt Lake City this year.

“It’s a lot of stress and a lot of fun,” Speech and Debate Team Coach Joelle Sanders said. “Lots of figuring out where you’re supposed to be and what you’re supposed to do. It’s national, and it’s huge, so it’s a little overwhelming, but it’s still very well organized.”

All of the competitions the team has made this year have been preparing them for this point, similar to the way the sports season is mainly to prepare a team for GAC’s. This year, the season has resulted in many awards of members of the team.

“For me, [the season] has gone pretty well,” sophomore Caitlind Walker said. “I have noticed improvements in my speaking as well as my performance in debate. I also started a new speech event, which has gone pretty well. For the team, I believe it’s gone very well. Multiple individuals have won trophies, and many have made it to finals repeatedly.”

To prepare, the team has three practices a week. To prepare for this competition, they had a practice debate against another public forum team from FHN. They then discussed the topic to get other perspectives from the other team. They also debated in a tournament this past weekend to see other schools’ arguments and better prepare themselves. Members of the team enjoy the club and describe it as a close group and encourage others to join.

“[Speech and Debate] is a good opportunity, and even if you don’t think you’re good at talking, we can find an event that you fit with,” sophomore Amber Pryor said.