Summit High School speech and debate team roars in Gypsum

Elaine Gort/Courtesy photo
From left to right, Austin Johnson, Josie Burnette, Schuyler Clark-Arens, Karina Johnson, Heidi Wuppermann, Josh Shriver, Jacob Cayou, Anna Mitchell, Victoria Campbell, Thane Varble and Atticus Landwehr after competing in a speech and debate competition in Gypsum on Saturday, Nov. 11.
Elaine Gort/Courtesy photo

Eleven Summit High School speech and debate team members traveled to Eagle Valley High School in Gypsum in order to compete in four types of debates on Saturday, Nov. 11.

Eight students competed in Congressional debate, in which they debated various possible legislative decisions, including allocating $200 billion for housing, a bill to make women eligible for the military draft and if teachers should have guns in school.

Sophomore Schuyler Clark-Arens was the top Tiger in the Congressional debate, placing fifth overall and winning first place as a presiding officer. Following the competition, Clark-Arens felt a new level of confidence in not only her knowledge in political debates, but also felt more prepared for an eventual career.

“Congressional debate is helping me learn skills that are awesome for my future life plans,” Clark-Arens said. “It gives me so much confidence in speaking on any topic that comes my way.” 

Anna Mitchell placed sixth in in the Congressional debate, with Heidi Wuppermann following in seventh and freshman Austin Johnson placing ninth.

Atticus Landwehr said he “had fun arguing tough intellectual topics” during his first try at Congressional debate, while Karina Johnson said she felt “seeing everyone’s confidence and passion in their speeches” gave her lots to learn from. 

Thane Varble, who placed 13th, found it “both scary and fun to debate in front of an intense group.” After taking second place at the Battle Mountain meet the week before, Josie Burnette fell to 12th place, as the issues she planned to discuss never hit the floor.  

Competing outside of the Congressional debate, Victoria Campbell went over and beyond as she competed in two types of debate. Campbell competed in the value debate — in which debaters are given 30 minutes to prepare a debate without any research on a topic — and the Lincoln-Douglas debate, where she debated one-on-one about banning or not banning hydrocarbon extraction on federal lands. 

Campbell debated for a total of six rounds that lasted around 45 minutes each. At the end, she said she was completely exhausted mentally, but was glad she did it.

First-time debater Jacob Cayou placed ninth overall in the public forum debate in partnership with Josh Shriver, debating the topic of student federal loan forgiveness. Cayou became interested in debate from his history of Americas class in school.

“For the first tournament I didn’t know what to expect, but I had fun interacting with all different types of people,” Cayou said. “Everyone was super open and helpful. The first round was hard but as the day went on, I learned a lot and got more confident with each debate.”

The speech and debate team will now prepare for its next competition on Dec. 2 in Palisade.

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