BY KAYDEE DWYER
Has there ever been something that has been on your mind constantly? Something you couldn’t shake the thought of? Maybe this thing is a song, a quote, or maybe even something much larger. Whatever it may be, there is always an opportunity to talk about it in Speech & Debate.
Speech & Debate is one of the main activities here at Truman that tend to have many students reluctant to join. The idea of public speaking in somewhat high-stress situations seems to scare many students off; however, there is more to Speech & Debate than just that. “It’s a good way to let your beliefs be heard. I have very strong opinions so just getting my voice heard is a really huge plus,” according to one of Truman’s newest teammates, Reese Cook. Between the self written-speeches and the already prepared scripts, students are able to express themselves with ease. Poetry and dramatic performances are often used and presented at tournaments; and these scripts allow the audience and performer to connect real life experiences to the piece. Paige Gonzales, Truman’s Speech & Debate president, says, “Speech and Debate gives unique research opportunities unlike in a class where you aren’t able to look at every side of an argument because of the curriculum and strong restrictions.” Many of the complaints students make about school are about the restrictions they have put upon them despite being in high school, implying they aren’t mature enough for more sensitive content and “R rated” opinions. While in speech, if a student presents that they’re passionate enough, their speech is absolutely possible.
Speech is beyond the world of high school and homecoming; it impacts your real world decisions. “Out of any activity, it prepares you most for the real world. A major benefit is being able to share your perspective with all types of audiences! Finding ways to convey your arguments to all kinds of people is vital,” Gonzales says. A variety of jobs require customer service or interacting with people of any caliber. The ability to be persuasive and sound like you know what you’re talking about, even if you don’t, gives you a major leg up in a conversation. Even if you plan to work at a job where there is no talking at all, body language and eye contact will be the most important form of communication.
So next time you have something on your mind, something you think is worth advocating for, or maybe just something you’re passionate about, consider Speech & Debate to complete your high school experience!