Starting off this debate season strong, the Rock Creek debate team has finished first place in three tournaments, Clay Center, Topeka West and Jefferson West.
The debate team this year has a total of 19 members, including two seniors, four juniors, 11 sophomores and 10 freshmen. The topic this season is that the United States Federal Government should substantially decrease its domestic surveillance.
Many students see several benefits to the surveillance topic and believe that what they are learning is very important knowledge.
“I feel like it’s a huge issue that honestly everyone should be aware of, of what’s happening to them, surveillance-wise,” junior Eli Miller, a three-year debater, said.
Still, some debate members have run into trouble with this year’s topic by being given random cases.
“You have to think quickly,” freshman Hannah Fouts said. ”Like one cow case we ran against. The case was on trying to track diseases in cows, and how we should not have security on cows. We had no evidence, so I had to think of a whole new attack.”
Debate students have been working over the past few months, starting at the end of the summer to improve their skills, but a certain group has come the furthest from when they began this summer.
“The novice have improved the most because they started from knowing nothing, and now they are competing, often against varsity people from other schools,” coach Keith Miller said.
For debate members, much of their daily schedule is spent preparing for upcoming tournaments, including filing previous cases that they encountered in previous tournaments and doing endless research on their topic.
“I’m kind of preparing continuously for each tournament,” four-year senior Emmalee Funk said. “The amount of hours… I probably spend about 20 hours each week. I research on what kind of cases I’ll find, negative and affirmative research. Just researching mostly.”
Debate is not an individual event; students work in groups or partnerships. Many debate members enjoy a certain partner due to their knowledge of their topic.
“[Senior] Adam [Thew] has been the only one [partner] I’ve had, so I’d have to say he’s my favorite,” Funk said. “Adam understands everything he is saying really well, which is good because some stuff he runs, I don’t understand as well so he can help me.”
Debate members have begun looking ahead to upcoming debate tournaments that they are particularly excited for.
“I’m looking forward to four-speaker regionals just because it’s going to be uniquely challenging, and it’s going to be a little different from what I’ve normally done,” Eli Miller said. “In four-speaker debate, you do all negative or affirmative all day against teams that are doing the opposite. The teams we will be facing will have a couple months of preparedness specifically on their case, so it will be harder to attack these teams.”
To qualify for four-speaker state, the team will need place at least second at regionals Dec. 19. To qualify for two-speaker state, the team must go to at least four open or junior varsity tournaments and maintain a winning record.
Overall, this team has been successful and they have been a fun team for Keith Miller to coach.
“This year’s team has great, positive spirit, and they are really good friends, so that is the best thing about coaching this team,” Keith Miller said.
Article by Nate Williams, staff member
Photo by Jessica Augustine-Stegman, adviser