BY EMMA HUERTA
As with the majority of the clubs here at CCHS, the Speech and Debate Team has its fair share of significant events that members can partake in. Large-scale tournaments present an opportunity for students to debate with competitors from across the country and showcase everything they’ve strived and worked towards, as well as have a great overall experience.
From October 26 to October 28, the CCHS Speech and Debate team participated in the Florida Blue Key tournament. The competition took place at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Participation in the competition was available nationally and had competitors from states like Iowa, Georgia and California. Thus, there was a highly zealous and unique atmosphere among the debaters.
“I would say that it is really competitive, but it is [also] a really fun environment because you have people from all over Florida and some people from other states who are coming in and competing,” debate teacher and coach Sarah Botsch-Mcguinn said. “The competition is really high so it’s really exciting when they post on big posters when you break to the different rounds.”
“I learned so much to become a better debater.”
Despite the tough competition, one CCHS student was able to win an award at Blue Key. Sophomore Jacob Militzok, who competed in the Humorous Interpretation category, was a semi-finalist and thus received a trophy to commemorate this achievement.
“What I found most enjoyable about Blue Key was getting to perform my piece and getting tons of people in my audience to laugh,” Militzok said. “The experience of getting to win, performing for many people and getting to meet people from all over when competing in these national tournaments is an experience that can change your life, like it did for me.”
Throughout all three days at the tournament, students maintained a busy schedule, constantly moving from round to round to compete.
“Usually, except for Friday when we started in the afternoon, [competitors] would go in the morning and be there all day,” Botsch-Mcguinn said. “Each round is about an hour or two depending on what event you are doing.”
“There’s an excitement you don’t necessarily get when you go to an afterschool tournament or a local competition.”
Besides being occupied with the actual competition, students were able to watch fellow competitors and learn from them as well, contributing to the highly constructive and educational atmosphere common at large tournaments such as Blue Key.
“It was worth attending because I learned so much to become a better debater,” sophomore Ben Roberts said. “The tournament is so rewarding because of how fun it is and how much you can enhance critical thinking and debate skills.”
Other than being a special learning experience, the national tournament was also a bonding opportunity for the debate team, incomparable to other tournaments that also occur throughout the school year.
“That time we spent at the hotel before we went to the tournament was a lot of being able to learn and adapt quickly, and get ready. We had debriefings in the evening to prepare for the next day and ask last minute questions,” Botsch-Mcguinn said. “There’s a lot of fun in that: there’s an excitement you don’t necessarily get when you go to an afterschool tournament or a local competition. You only get that sort of environment when you travel.”
Photo courtesy of University of Florida