The Speech and Debate Competition


Our first official Speech and Debate club at Mountain Ridge was formed last semester, and their first competition is coming up! On January 24 and 25, around 22 Ridge kids will be competing at their first competition, with about 12 students sectioned off into debate and 10 into speech.


Competing in either speech or debate can be beneficial for many different reasons, as is explained by club president Tony Ruan,


“It teaches a skill that a lot of kids aren’t really exposed to at a younger age. A lot of figures today that are prominent in the public spectrum, including supreme court justices, legislators, and a lot of current presidential candidates have been involved in speech and debate because it allows them to deliver their arguments coherently and articulately,” Ruan said.


So, having skills like these can help students interested in politics or diplomacy learn how to communicate in a way that’s appropriate for the field. However, it’s important to note that speech and debate are two separate associations with smaller competitions within them. Debate is much more confrontational, with arguments happening on the spot to keep competitors on their toes. Speech, however, is more of a presentation. Instead of directly responding to another team’s idea, competitors can either choose to reinterpret a published work and present it, or create their own original work.


Plus, the prompts for the two competitions are both different. For the debate teams the topics focus much more on moral and economic issues in the US and around the world.


“For example, one of the events is on whether or not the US should end economic sanctions on Venezuela, which is a very real world and modern political issue. Another topic is incredibly vague and philosophical, and it’s “objective morality exists,” so that’s clearly not as applicable to politics, but it still spans modern issues,” said Ruan.


These are difficult topics to tackle, and the team takes a lot of time to prepare. For the topic of Venezuela, which Ruan will be competing in, he has to stay updated on current events constantly to form an opinion. It also takes a few committed work days to form arguments for both sides, since the team doesn’t get to choose their position.


Although the team is already set for this tournament and their upcoming one in March, people can still join. There’s plenty of time to join the roster for the big March competition as long as your signup fee is paid and your arguments or presentations are made. If you don’t plan on joining, you’re still encouraged to go watch and support the team at Basis Peoria, with debate competing next Friday at 3PM and Speech competing the next day from 9AM to 2PM. Go support the new team!