Club Highlight: Speech and Debate


Union’s Speech and Debate state team

Gail Guisinger, Co-Editor in Chief

After a long winter, spring is the perfect time to think about stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new. Consider this – Speech and Debate. With 14 events to choose from, a friendly, tight-knit community, and much opportunity to grow in your confidence and public speaking abilities, this club could be the one for you as you think about your plans for next year.

Speech and Debate isn’t just reserved for people who are already extroverted and outspoken. Ayden Erickson, a senior who won sixth place in State for her speech this year, confided that before she joined Speech and Debate in middle school, she was, as she put it, “terrified of public speaking.” Now, she participates in the impromptu speech event, which is an event where the speaker must choose from three topics and make a speech about it on the spot, all within six minutes! 

As with most things, it seems like it’s practice that makes the best public speaker. Throughout the year, members of this club learn how to prepare and give speeches or participate in debates, and have multiple competitions to gain experience. Dylan Schaak, a freshman who participated in Speech and Debate for the first time this year, said that although it was uncomfortable for him this year, he felt like he had improved and he was confident that he could “make it back next year 100% better.” He added, “Anybody who is shy, awkward, and wants a good community who will help better their social skills should join speech and debate.”

Union’s Speech and Debate competitors have seen their courage and effort produce results as well. Alice Schaak and Elliot Holden proved themselves an epic debate duo as they were crowned district champions after winning all their local rounds in the team debate competition known as Public Forum. Then, last week, four students got to travel to Tacoma for speech (Ayden Erickson, Dylan Schaak, Alexia Bravo, and Kieran Iyer) and four went for debate (Alice Schaak, Elliot Holden, Raven Strawter, and, taking another event, Dylan Schaak). Each person brought their all to the competition, and Ayden Erickson ended up as a finalist. She also mentioned that she got the entire room to burst out laughing!

If you see any of these speakers or debaters, be sure to give them a heartfelt congratulations. And if you’d like to join for the next season, watch for notice of an informational meeting or contact the advisor through the UHS Clubs Sheet.