Three Rocks will head to Nationals
May 16, 2023
Photo courtesy of Lopez
Winner takes all - Mayah Victoria Lopez claims Champion in Informational Speaking and qualifies for Nationals
With the Speech and Debate season coming to a close, Westfield High School's Speech and Debate Team had several members qualify for Nationals being held in Phoenix, Arizona on June 11-16.
With the speech and debate season wrapping up the team competed in the district speech tournament on March 4. There the team received the plaque for the district sweepstakes award for Congressional Debate, which was held before the event. The members who qualified for Nationals, as a result, include Mayah Lopez (10) in informative speaking, Asha Adhikari (10) in Original Oratory, and Arthur Goreham (10) in Congressional Debate. In order to get to this high-level competition each member had to give this season their all. Lopez in particular had a very successful season including claiming the district championship in informative speaking
“I've been doing this [speech and debate] for around two years,” Lopez said, “This is my greatest achievement so far in Speech and Debate for sure.”
Nationals will be an exciting event and can be streamed on www.speechanddebate.org/live. Each member will have to participate in up to four rounds each day in order to advance to the following day. By June 16, a champion in each category will be selected based on performances throughout the four days.
Other members' seasonal run was nothing far from extraordinary. Lexi Ball (9), a newcomer to the high school’s team, had a very educational season full of memorable moments including two first-place ribbons, and a fourth place in impromptu speaking. When asked how Ball personally felt the season went they were appreciative of the skills learned from this season.
“I’m very argumentative and outspoken,” Ball said, “This season really helped me grow in my skills, and boosted my confidence.”
Speech and Debate has brought many people together this season under a commonality of presenting ideas, thoughts, and opinions on the world. This practice is an outlet to many and is appreciated amongst those who compete and those who listen to the voices competing. The art of being able to articulate these values is becoming lost in the modern era.
“I am incredibly glad of my opportunity to cross the nation just for people to hear my voice,” Goreham said. “The ability to spread and defend your ideas can not be an idea lost to the increasing list of skills developed in our modern era.”
The duality of being able to form and voice opinions, thoughts, and present is an overlooked skill. Speech and Debate has become crucial in an effort to promote the presentation of new ideas and have the youth come together to do this.
“Speech and Debate is a way to grow beyond what’s familiar to you,” Lopez said. “Normally in life, we are all in our own bubble. Speech and Debate burst that bubble and allow us to see the world through a whole new lens for the first time. I think for me, the whole ordeal of it has improved me as a human in more ways than one.”