The Laramie High School Speech and Debate team went to districts on Feb. 20 in order to qualify for nationals.


The high school speech and debate team, headed by Patricia Smith, traveled to Cheyenne for the meet. Districts this year were held at Cheyenne East and several schools attended.


The meet lasted three days and each day they would arrive early in the morning around 6:30 and participate until 8-9 pm.


After arriving, the schedule for the day was set, leaving each student to attend their events or forfeit to the other members. The day is busy due to arriving early in the morning and practicing late at night.


Each student had several events to choose from, but most students had two events and had to prepare and work with both. Most students had an interpretation event and a debate event.


Their events were chosen weeks before participating and they spent days practicing and gathering information to win their events.


Interpretation events such as humor, poetry and plays were roleplay-type events.


Debate events such as policy, current events and congress were more professional and followed strict rules and were more about debating situations and ideas.


Each event had two rounds. In order to progress they would have to win a round, and if they won enough, they could qualify for the National meet.


Unfortunately the LHS team did not have any members reach the finals and qualify for nationals but several students/duos made it to the fifth round of their events.


Over the past debate meets, the LHS team has excelled in the duo team debates, policy debates and poetry events.


“We pride ourselves on working hard and having fun and working to better ourselves and the debate community,” Smith said.


The high school debate team currently has 20 varsity members.


For district, the only students allowed to attend are varsity members.


In the team, a person must reach an accumulative amount of points and go to at least three meets before they are considered varsity members. Until then, they are considered novice members.


Over the past two years, they have had two coaches join their team. One of the additions was Wendy Watson and the other was Stannard Matt. Matt has been doing debate for 30 years and for the summer he teaches at Harvard. 


Speech and Debate is a social growth zone, helping students such as varsity member Jacob Haenisch.


“I used to be scared of public speaking and putting myself out there, but now it doesn’t bother me at all,” Haenisch said.


They have practices on Tuesday and Thursday and usually attend meets on Fridays.