How speech and debate prepares for tournaments


   Effective speeches require time and practice, both of which are utilized in HR’s own speech and debate team, run by head coach Brent Oberg.

   Every Wednesday after school, a group of 20 or so students meet in room 1370 where they begin to prepare for upcoming tournaments. It’s run routinely to give the students time to practice employing their skills at public speaking. Brent Oberg, English teacher, said, “We have a short meeting, then break down and do practice, then the rest of practice is by appointment.” He continued, “Or we’ll break down and do an event, and the kids in that event will perform for the other students.”

   “Appointments” are where the club members will use outside practice where they meet one-on-one with Oberg to discuss their speeches. “It’s a mix between working with others and working alone because a lot of it’s independent,” said Oberg. “They might meet with me and discuss topics and choose a topic and come up with a general outline, but then they have to go ahead and do their research and write a rough draft on their own.”

   After practicing, the club will attend tournaments with other schools and compete. Tournaments include speaking three times with three different judges and three different groups of kids that they go against. Eventually the top six kids in each event will be chosen to make finals, where they compete again, and then there’s an awards ceremony where they give out trophies and ribbons. 

   “I kind of liken it to track,” said Oberg. “Everybody’s got a different event, and you’re all competing at once but in different areas.” Everyone has their own field of practice that they can employ and yet everyone still works as a team.


Danielle Black, Staff Reporter