CFNN Reporter Ansley Thomas

Have you ever just wanted your voice to be heard? If so, speech and debate might be a good activity for you to consider.

Speech and Debate provides students with an opportunity to develop skills in research, critical thinking, organization, persuasion, and communication. The debate side of the club involves a topic (typically a current event) from there, the students develop arguments and viewpoints. The Speech side involves more of a ¨performance¨ aspect than the debate side, where contestants are focused more on dramatized performances.

Usually, Speech and Debate is hosted at a school and between 20-30 schools go to compete, but this year, due to COVID-19, it is being held virtual. Any school that signs up is allowed to compete, whether it be private or public.

“This year has been difficult, but the team has been resilient and has adapted well,” says veteran Coach Chris Lucas. “I have been more than pleased with this team’s dedication. Virtual meetings are not the optimal place to practice, but these students have truly adapted and overcome all obstacles.”

At Cape Fear, we have a great speech and debate team coached by Mr. and Mrs. Lucas. This past weekend Cape Fear competed in a competition. One of our top competitors is Emily Rogers who placed 2nd in dramatic performance out of about 20 competitors. Emily is now 7th in the eastern regional, she also qualified for nationals. Trace Glasby and Claire Sexton also did very well in the debate part of the competition.

“I would say that one of the main things that makes speech and debate great would be the teamwork between all of our members,” says standout member Emily Rogers. “It takes a lot to be good at speech and debate, and our teammates are excellent at deliberating which one another and giving constructive criticism to better each other’s performances.”

That team aspect has worked well for the team, as they have continuously placed highly in their competitions, even going so far as to qualify for the upcoming national tournament. 

“Speech and Debate is an amazing experience for anyone who loves competing, acting, or arguing, says team Captain Tazmine Greenway. “You get to make new friends, and competing is always fun, even if it’s a little stressful! I, personally, am a part of the “debate” side of things. Debate in particular is fun if you’re interested in politics,” she continued. “You get to use your interest and understanding of the world to discuss topics that are actually relevant to current events. Questioning is my favorite part because you get to poke “holes” in your competitors arguments and ultimately prove why you’re right.” 

To prepare for these competitions they must meet virtually until they are able to compete in person. For the speech side, Mrs. Lucas leads them and they will perform, practice, and get feedback on their pieces. Emily Rogers and Nisa Sheikh are the captains for the speech side. The debate side is coached by Mr. Lucas, in which competitors will practice debate theorem, politics, and current events. The debate captains are Trace Glasby and Taz Greenway.

If you would like to get involved in the Speech and Debate team get in contact with Mr. or Mrs. Lucas via email!