veritas exquirere

Talon

veritas exquirere

Talon

veritas exquirere

Talon

Speech and Debate takes off

The many wonders that come with the program

Ever seen a group of kids wearing elegant clothing and winning medals? Speech and Debate is a place for students to connect intricate thoughts, and develop new ones. All grades work together to learn how to research varied and complex topics and write and argue for both sides of the case given. 

“There’s usually a lot of people that sign up; the club has grown a lot,” senior Sophie Picard said. “We have this goal to remind everybody to be respectful. Our team culture is not that we depend on winning, but what’s most important is how you treat others.”

Speech and Debate creates friendships and teaches students the value of hard work ethic and the relentless pursuit of their beliefs. Speech and Debate consumes a lot of student’s time, and they are taught to manage their time better. Students learn how to express themselves through words in a quick manner. 

“I feel like it’s just a given that speech and debate is a hard thing to do,” junior Joy Chu wrote. “You have to prep, no matter the event you’re in, which takes a lot of time and dedication to accomplish.”

Students learn good time management skills through Speech and Debate to juggle school and other extracurricular activities. Many students who participate in Speech and Debate enjoy their time with each other and collaborate on debate cases. 

“The students are definitely busy, both outside and inside the debate team,” senior Michelle Bi wrote. “Lots of overcoming that obstacle is just time management on our own parts, but when possible the coaches and I also try to give novices time during class to work on their debate cases.”

Students meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. after school for practice, and strive to make the most of their short time. 

“We like to run a variety of activities to try to tackle all of these different parts of Debate,” Bi said. “Like rebuttal drills, speaking practice, and just regular structure-focused or current-event lectures.”

Their tournaments are held throughout the year and are not open to the public. Regardless, students receive support between events from their peers, contributing to the team’s success. The speech and debate team just recently had their first tournament and had a great time. 

“We typically all spend tournaments together in a big group,” Bi wrote. “Our first one this year was Jack Howe at Cal State Long Beach, which we attended from September 30 to October 1.”

The team did well at their first tournament through hard work and dedication. A lot of individual success led to a great overall experience for the team. Debate expects excellence within their students when it comes to showing up for both themselves and their team.

“As a team, and personally, we don’t really put too much stock in awards,” Bi wrote. “We believe the greatest achievement is really just showing up to practices, to tournaments, and putting in your best effort.”

The Oak Park speech and debate team is a student-based organization. Head coaches help guide students through the Speech and Debate process. Having most coaches be students instead of adults, the team is closer, and help is always around the corner. 

“Having a student-led club helps with that relatability and helps keep the students in touch,” Sophie Picard says, “I can pass down personal experiences and I think that makes it more relatable and comfortable.”

The speech and debate group works stronger together and helps each other grow as individuals. The team’s tightly knit aspect promotes each student’s success. 

“We’ve always got friends on our side: to assist when others need it, to share arguments and build cases together,” Bi wrote, “or to just provide emotional support after a tough round.”

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About the Contributors
Caroline Bi, Senior Staff Artist
Class of 2026 Caroline has been part of the Talon staff for 2 years. She has previously served as a Staff Writer and enjoys writing feature pieces.
David Ross, Senior Staff Writer

Class of 2025

David has been part of the Talon staff for 2 years. He has previously served as a Staff Writer and enjoys writing opinion pieces.

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