Speech and Debate team invites new members


Genevieve Novinger

Charlotte Hellyer, Cam Davis, and Ivy Sabaini-Kizewski (left to right) at Novice Meet in Palisade where all members placed.

Annabelle Ensor, News Reporter

Speech and Debate is a semi-intense competitive CHSAA sanctioned activity that in the past has always been able to sustain a team of at least a dozen members, but has found themselves with very few participants this year, and they are looking to add to their current ranks of five. Here’s everything interested students need to know.

The team has competed in several meets this year and has been successful under the coaching of Ms. Novinger. Novinger expressed her satisfaction with the team.

“For as small as we have been for the last few meets, we have been doing very well. We have managed to bring home a few ribbons and trophies from each meet. While our competition has been bigger and more competitive, we’ve been a team to be proud of at competitions.” Novinger said.

Speech and Debate is a competitive CHSAA activity that requires a $100 activity fee. It is a competition that teams send individuals to compete in. There are three main branches in Speech and Debate, including “interpretive speaking,” “debate,” and “speech.”

Interpretive involves memorizing a script from literature, in events like Humor, Drama, Poetry, and Program Oral Interpretation.

Humor interpretation involves taking a script and performing it as a comedy. Drama is similar but is open to more variety than Humor. Poetry is a recitation of three consecutive poems that all relate to a single theme. Program Oral Interpretation is like Poetry but allows you to use more pieces than just poetry.

The speech events include Original Oratory and Informative Speaking. Original Oratory is an event where participants write a persuasive speech on any topic they choose. Informative speaking also involves writing a speech in advance, but instead of a persuasive speech, it’s an informative one. Original Oratory is a “call to action,” while Informative Speaking is for teaching people about anything you want.

Debate events include the Lincoln Douglas Debate, the Public Forum Debate, and the Congressional Debate. In Public Forum, participants prepare their cases with a partner and debate with another team on the day of a speech meet. Lincoln Douglas is like Public Forum but is more value-based and is an individual event. Congressional Debate involves individuals from each team meeting and debating bills proposed by teams in advance.

Practice takes up two hours of competitors’ weeks. At practice, teammates collaborate on and refine their pieces. All those practice hours built up to meets, which are full-day competitions that take the team out of town. At the end of a speech meet, the hosting school awards the winners of each event with trophies and ribbons. Every speech meet attended adds to your nationally recorded points, which is how you can letter in Speech and Debate.

The captain of the team this year, Ivy Sabaini-Kizewski, commented on the changes made to the speech team since she originally joined.

“It has definitely evolved into something very different. Having a smaller team changes the dynamic a lot, and it’s harder to get people to join since we lost so much of our team, but I think we have a good foundation,” Sabaini-Kizewski said.

When asked what was different before the events of COVID-19 that she’d like to see again, Sabaini-Kizewski stated that “More participation would be great.” and that she misses the consistency of scheduling meets from prior years. “I understand the necessity for these things, but I miss how it used to be.”

Along with adjustments to a new system, the team also has a new coach this year. Ms. Novinger took on the coaching position at the last minute because the position had not been filled in August.

Novinger touched on her feelings about why students should join the team.

“I feel that students should join speech and debate because it gives students a chance to have a voice. A chance to be a part of a team and improve their communication skills.”

She added that Speech and Debate provides lifelong skills to students.

“Students can take the driver’s seat and talk about their concerns to their peers, talk about their experiences, and maybe impress a judge enough to be able to take those concerns and experiences to a platform where they can be heard.”

The Speech and Debate team at Montrose High School is looking for new members in all events. If you are interested, please see Ms. Novinger in Room 137. Practices take place after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm.