Speech and Debate’s success is not debatable


Karissa March, Review Staff

Feature Photo By: Maddie Heiken – Juniors Lizzie Stacks (left) and Daphne Hernandez (right) discuss material for an upcoming round in a competition. Hernandez has been in Speech for three years and Stacks for two years.

The 2016-2017 school year is ending which means the majority of extracurriculars and clubs that Rangeview has to offer also come to a halt. The Speech and Debate team supervised by Anna Gebhardt, an english teacher at RHS, has ended its season strong with several top spots in competitions and the chance to compete at nationals in Birmingham, Alabama.

The team’s last competition resulted in Rebekah Ramey (11) and Tania Sunti (12) placing 6th in Drama, Trinity Stevenson(11) placing 5th in Oratory, and Connor Rodenbeck(11) placing 6th in Slam Poetry. Rangeview students ended up on top at the event: Big Questions with Lizzie Stacks(11) landing 3rd, Myriam Alcala (11) taking the 2nd place spot, and Nadya Nfaoui(11) winning the overall competition, sending her to nationals this summer.

According to Gebhardt, the club offers many opportunities for students who join. The chance to attend different camps and be able to travel sponsored by the Denver Urban Debate League are simply a few.

The Speech and Debate team poses at the end of a tournament. The team usually has students that place in each competition. (Photo provided by Gebhardt)

“It’s a great way to see other places and it’s also a great way to get better at speaking in front of people, researching, and sounding intelligent,” explains Gebhardt.

Speech and Debate practices once a week and has monthly tournaments from October to March which have four speech events and three debate events.

“There’s really an event for everyone,” says Gebhardt.

The club is led by juniors Karina Estrada, captain of the debate team, and Connor Rodenbeck, captain of the speech team, who have several responsibilities such as recruiting new members, being present at events, coordinating fundraisers, and designing the team’s gear. The officers agree that Speech and Debate can help students both educationally and in their personal lives.

“I want to be a lawyer,” explains Estrada. “[The club] has helped me become more outgoing and helped me perform speeches as my end goal is to be a politician.”

Gebhardt, along with officers and members of the club all share the desire to expand and improve the club in the future and already have plans on how to do so.

“Fostering a love for the club would really help it expand,” says Nfaoui. “Connecting with underclassmen through competition and the essence of growth and victory makes people want to avidly contribute to the club.”

After her first and only time competing this year, Nfaoui crushed the competition and came out on top after qualifying to compete at nationals. Nfaoui has expressed her excitement to compete in nationals this summer and Gebhardt and other members have high hopes that they can go back next year.

“I was relatively inactive until the second half of the year, but the championship that I competed in were very challenging and worthwhile,” said Nfaoui. “This victory made me realize that Speech and Debate was something that I was good at and loved to do.”

The Speech and Debate team won many awards this school year, the team and all of its participants plan to continue improving and excelling in what they do.