Speech and Debate: It’s what everyone is talking about

Michael+Hagepanos%2C+Skylar+Cassel%2C+Grace+Tasel%2C+Rena+Modi%2C+and+Val+Ziegler+after+a+recent+competition.+%0A+On+January+11th%2C+2018.++Michael+won+third+in+Extemporaneous+Speaking%2C+Val+also+won+third+in+Declamation%2C+and+the+Readers%27+Theatre+group+%28including+Skylar%2C+Val%2C+Rena%2C+and+Grace%29+placed+second.
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Speech and Debate: It’s what everyone is talking about

Michael Hagepanos, Skylar Cassel, Grace Tasel, Rena Modi, and Val Ziegler after a recent competition. 
 On January 11th, 2018.  Michael won third in Extemporaneous Speaking, Val also won third in Declamation, and the Readers' Theatre group (including Skylar, Val, Rena, and Grace) placed second.

Michael Hagepanos, Skylar Cassel, Grace Tasel, Rena Modi, and Val Ziegler after a recent competition. On January 11th, 2018. Michael won third in Extemporaneous Speaking, Val also won third in Declamation, and the Readers' Theatre group (including Skylar, Val, Rena, and Grace) placed second.

Aimee Wilson

Michael Hagepanos, Skylar Cassel, Grace Tasel, Rena Modi, and Val Ziegler after a recent competition. On January 11th, 2018. Michael won third in Extemporaneous Speaking, Val also won third in Declamation, and the Readers' Theatre group (including Skylar, Val, Rena, and Grace) placed second.

Aimee Wilson

Aimee Wilson

Michael Hagepanos, Skylar Cassel, Grace Tasel, Rena Modi, and Val Ziegler after a recent competition. On January 11th, 2018. Michael won third in Extemporaneous Speaking, Val also won third in Declamation, and the Readers' Theatre group (including Skylar, Val, Rena, and Grace) placed second.

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Speech and Debate is one of the most beneficial clubs offered to students at Patterson Mill High School because it teaches students various skills that they will use for the rest of their life, not just for the four years they attend high school.  When most students hear “Speech and Debate,” they are probably only thinking of the debate side.  However, the club includes many opportunities for students to get involved in such as Readers’ Theatre, a group performance; Dramatic Interpretation, the reading of a dramatic work; Declamation, the reading a famous speech; and possibly the most difficult, Extemporaneous Speech, where the student has little to no preparation before speaking. Students interpret historical works, poems, and a variety of other readings to perfect the way that they are going to read them.  They have the option to work together in groups, with a partner, or individually depending on the category. One of the most exciting things for the members to participate in is Readers’ Theatre, where the whole group works together to read aloud a short play in hopes to earn their school a ribbon. “We connect, support, and inspire a diverse community committed to empowering students through competitive speech and debate,” according to SpeechAndDebate.org.

Speech and Debate gives students a voice and a place to use it.  “Since joining Speech and Debate, I have become more confident in my speaking abilities,” says Rena Modi a freshman and member of the club.  Skylar Cassel, also a freshman and new member, agrees with Rena’s statement, adding, “I used to be really shy and scared to talk to pretty much anyone, but Speech and Debate has helped me better understand my emotions and articulate my words, and help my confidence grow because it takes a lot to speak emotionally for so long in front of a room of people that you don’t know.”  Val Ziegler, a senior who has been a part of Speech and Debate since her freshman year said the club, “[emphasizes] the fact that I have a voice and it needs to be heard.”

This club not only helps with confidence and public speaking, but also in many other aspects.  Students must meet deadlines and become more organized to be able to present their pieces on time, while still juggling time-consuming school work.  Grace Tasel (9), another member, shared that “it helps you manage your time.  I have become more organized on setting a schedule of when to practice and study my school work.”

Speech and Debate exposes students to the importance of literature. “Speech and Debate has taught me that language is power.  Words, when conveyed with strong emotion, leave a bigger impact than we think.  Being able to develop that strength is a real asset in the world,” says Rena Modi.  Through dialogues, students become more interested in literature because they are always analyzing work and finding the meaning of the historic language.  Students must also do their research on the topic, whether it is a paper written during a war or a president’s speech, which allows them to better their research skills.  Val Ziegler states “[Speech and Debate] has improved my academic performance especially in the English area; it has broadened my vocabulary and boosted my confidence in classroom discussions.”

“I was really nervous on the way here, but now I’m feeling prepared and excited,” said Cassel when arriving at a recent competition.  Once arriving at the school, the students began to shed their nerves.  Everyone read their lines and encouraged each other to do their best.  On January 112018, Grace Tasel, Rena Modi, Skylar Cassel, and Val Ziegler worked together to present “The Christmas Truce,” a Readers’ Theatre piece about four soldiers writing to loved ones during a time of war.  The four used different tones and vocabulary to act out their roles.  This earned them a second place ribbon.  The experience helps members prepare for college presentations and possibly presentations in their future careers.

However, Speech and Debate isn’t all about winning.  Skylar says that “even if you don’t [win], it’s still a great time with your friends and everyone is really supportive and positive.”  Grace elaborated that it’s “a chance to make new friends.”  All in all, everyone wins, ribbon or not.

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