Speech and Debate Club is Gaining Momentum at MSHS
Last year, two Mount Si High School Speech and Debate teams
placed 1st and 2nd in the state Public Forum Debate
competition, making history in Washington State. The same two teams qualified
to compete at Nationals in Dallas, Texas last summer; they were the only teams
in the Puget Sound area to qualify.
As a result, momentum has continued to grow and Mount Si
High School’s Speech and Debate team is off to a strong start this year. The team hosted two “Introduction to Debate”
events this fall with over 50 students attending each. After which, 71 students signed up for the
club — up from 24 last year!
In October, the team hosted its first-ever Showcase Evening,
welcoming a large audience to watch a demonstration of how debate competitions
work. For each debate topic,
participants must study the issues in advance and be prepared to argue both
sides of an issue. When they arrive to a
Public Forum Debate competition, they draw which side they will represent, then
take turns with their debate partner stating their case to persuade the judges
with their reasoning.
At their Showcase Evening on October 20, 2015, Mount Si students
debated the topic:
governments prioritize the humanitarian needs of refugees over their own
Also for the
first time, the Speech and Debate team hosted a mini-camp last August for
students in grades 6th-9th with a variety of interactive
activities lead by high school students. The purpose of the camp was to raise awareness among younger student and
get them excited for opportunities they’ll have in high school.
From October through March, a delegation representing the
Mount Si team competes almost every weekend. So far this fall, they have upheld Mount Si’s strong reputation during regional
On October 23-24, at the Bear Creek Grizzlies Invitational in
Redmond, Ruary Thompson (senior) and Lauren Zinkan (junior) placed 3rd
in the Open Public Forum category, and Thompson was awarded the first speaker
On October 30-31, at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma,
competing against Puyallup High School, Thompson and Dana Korssjoen (senior) placed 1st
and earned a state bid in the Open Public Forum category. Thompson also earned the
first speaker award and Korssjoen was named third speaker, while Zinkan and
Kenzington Dupree (junior) were quarterfinalists. In the Novice Public Forum category, freshmen Reagan
Thompson and Liam Renner were also quarterfinalists, as well as freshmen Jack
Harris and Stephan Rubalcava. Renner also
earned the third speaker award while Regan Thompson was awarded fifth speaker.
6-7, at Gig Harbor High School, Zinkan and Dupree were semifinalists in the
open public forum, and Reagan Thompson and Renner were semifinalists in the
Novice Public Forum. Renner earned first speaker and Dupree earned fifth
November 13-14, at Central Valley High School, Ruary Thompson and Korssjoen placed 1st,
earning another state bid as well a Tournament of Champions bid for the April national
competition in Kentucky. (The team needs only one more bid to qualify and
compete.) Zinkan and Dupree also earned spots in quarterfinals.
On November 20-21, at Tahoma High School, three novice teams (comprised of all freshmen) received awards. Andrew Helfrich and Aryan Banerjee were quarterfinalists, while teams Liam Renner and
Reagan Thompson, and Maiya Weinmaster and Reilly Parr closed out the
tournament — both earning 1st place awards. In addition, Thompson earned a 3rd place
speaker award and Renner placed 1st for overall novice speakers.
In December, the team will be hosting the first-ever Debate Round Robin event at school, to allow every debater that has joined the club the opportunity to practice their skills.
students currently compete in the Public Forum debate category. As interest and support for the club grows,
the team would like to expand its training into other speech and debate
categories, in the future. In total,
there are five categories of debate possible and eight categories of speech at
most tournaments. The team also hopes to
expand its capacity to host a tournament at Mount Si High School in the future.
much potential for growth and so many avenues that students can get involved
in. We are only just scratching the surface, and with the help of our
community, I feel we can fill a gap that has been missing here in the Valley,”
explained Angela Thompson, parent and president of the Mount Si Speech and Debate
For students, who want to learn more or join
the team, please contact Ms. King, Mount Si High School Speech and Debate coach
and language arts teacher at email@example.com, or drop by room 301 when the team meets on Mondays,
Tuesdays and Thursdays, at 2:30 p.m.
or community members, who would like to help support Mount Si’s Speech and
Debate program, please contact Angela Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers are welcome since debate competitions depend on adult
participation. So far, they’ve hosted four clinics and trained 35 parents how
Read interviews with team member in recent news coverage: