Speech And Debate Team Takes on Districts at Beaverton High

Lillian Paugh, Editor

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  • Holding up a sign of encouragement made for them, members of the team posed for a group photo before their first matches on Saturday.

  • Members of the team gathered together to chat and practice before the matches began on Saturday.

  • Sophomore Avari Brocker practices in the hallway before her second event of the Saturday competition, After-Dinner Speaking.

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On Friday, March 17, and Saturday, March 18, La Salle’s Speech and Debate team traveled to Beaverton High School to compete in this year’s district tournament.

Led by social studies teacher and Speech and Debate coach Mr. Michael Doran, the team competed in various categories during the events on Friday and Saturday, putting the skills they’ve been building every week at practice since September to use.

Having competed in eight tournaments already this season, “they’ve been working hard all year,” Mr. Doran said. And, despite the outcome of Saturday’s tournament being the determining factor for advancement to state for the team’s members, Mr. Doran said that he also focused on emphasizing the importance of having fun while they were there.

Traveling between various classrooms on campus to their respective matches, the team could be found giving each other high-fives and brief words of encouragement in passing, which sophomore Mackenzie Barrera, who competed in Impromptu Speaking on Saturday, said was a highlight of the day.

“Not only at districts but over the season, we’ve grown a lot closer as a team,” Barrera said.

Overcoming one’s nerves is another common aspect of the debate tournaments, and this weekend was no exception — especially having had the prospect of state in mind, which junior Ezra Moody, who competed in After-Dinner Speaking and Prose Reading, described as “a big pressure.”

For some, like sophomore Avari Brocker, who competed in Poetry and After-Dinner Speaking, feeling nervous comes in the form of anticipation for her match to begin and around the potential of forgetting portions of her speech or making mistakes. However, “once I get up there, as soon as I make my first joke, and I get a chuckle from the audience, I’m good to go,” she said.

Among those who competed on Saturday, two team members — junior Blake Thomas, who tied for first place in Humorous Interpretation, and sophomore Michael Doran, who placed second in Informative Speaking — will be advancing to the state competition under OSAA on April 29 at Western Oregon University, with freshman Gabrielle Jones and sophomore Branden Sasomoto earning spots as first alternates to the state competition as well.