Debate team explores new opportunities

Team hopes to draw new members with added curriculum


Lilly Strathman

Richard Schmikler lectures debate team members on how to prepare a speech during their meeting Jan. 10. Schmikler showed the team a video of a public speaker to help them prepare for their competition.

Lilly Strathman and Grace Schultz

When thinking back to her years in high school, debate team leader Samantha Leo said adding a speech season will challenge the club members to become better at declamation. 

“I used to do speech in high school,” Leo said. “It challenged me to be a better public speaker which helped me later on in life.” 

In debate students practice their speech skills. They research their topic and form arguments to take to competitions. 

Junior president Kaylee Quick said practicing speech will strengthen her ability to debate.

“In debate you are judged on how you speak,” Quick said. “Speech will help the team become more fluent in speaking.”

According to freshman Nathaniel Starnbarg, adding speech practice to the debate curriculum will be beneficial, due to the fact that it helps to formulate thoughts and put them into words.

“It will make people better thinkers and speakers,” Starnbarg said.

Leo said having speech practice in the debate team will help students organize and express thoughts.

“Speech is a fantastic opportunity to get used to figuring out what your ideas are,” Leo said. “It challenges you to communicate (your ideas) to others in an impactful way.”

According to Quick, providing both speech and debate practices will help recruit members to the team.

“This is the first time speech will be a part of St. Louis Park High School for a while,” Quick said. “It will help us get more people with new ideas and perspectives.”

Starnbarg said gaining new members will help the team display a stronger performance.

“The new members joining because of this new addition will inspire us to do better,” Starnbarg said.

The next debate team meeting will be 3:30 p.m. Jan. 15 in the Learning Lab.