Speech and Debate heading to nationals

On Feb. 8 and 9, the speech and debate team attended East Iowa’s district tournament, one of two tournaments to qualify to this year's nationals in Dallas, Texas. The team qualified six students: Noah Rantilla in Lincoln-Douglas debate, Logan Quick and Yash Singh as partners in Public-Forum debate, Jason Jiang in Domestic Extemporaneous speaking, Daniel Wilkinson in International Extemporaneous speaking, and Rebecca Davis in Dramatic Interpretation. The Bulldogs had a busy weekend, with debaters starting rounds Friday and speech participants starting Saturday at Clear Creek Amana High School in Tiffin, Iowa.

Preparation for districts is rigorous, and some students, such as Yash Singh, said he spent “every snow day working for hours, reading news articles about U.S.-Middle East foreign policy,” as well as preparing for arguments, and completing blocks and cases.

However, while the preparation and competition are tough, with Logan Quick even being “surprised by how prepared everyone else was,” the payoff for going to nationals is well worth the stress and intensity.

Daniel Wilkinson, for example, thinks that the work is worth it because he gets “the opportunity to go up against the best speakers in the world.”

Sophomore Noah Rantilla, first time nationals qualifier, said “remember that no matter how intimidating your opponents can be, they’re still just people like you,”

Yash Singh recommended joining the team, not only because it allows students to travel, but also “because debate provides people with essential life skills such as writing, analysis and critical thinking.”

Brook Arnold believes that “it teaches you skills that you wouldn’t learn otherwise like tipping, speaking in front of others, how to be persuasive, clearly get your point across, and be more confident.”

Rantilla said “speech and debate is a phenomenal experience and it has helped me grow as a person, debater, and friend.”

Bettendorf national qualifiers

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