Despite COVID-19, Speech & Debate Club is Still Competing

Solomiya Mykhaylyshyn

The Speech & Debate club had to go through multiple changes this year due to Covid-19, causing the participants to lose some of their favorite things about the club.

To start, after talking to some members of the club, the main obstacle seems to be not being able to go to in-person tournaments. Before, the club members would have to wake up tremendously early to be able to make it to the bus on time, to get to the tournament. At the tournament, they were always moving around, trying to find the next room they were supposed to be in, talking to their friends about their rounds while eating in lunch, and would end up getting home at around nine in the evening. The tournaments last year gave the members that excitement and adrenaline. Whereas the tournaments this year only consist of getting on their computer and getting hour breaks between each round during which the participants only talk to their team about their past round for only about ten minutes. The in-person tournaments, although demanding at times, had much more excitement whereas the tournaments online are simply just stressful.

After asking Mouctar Diarra, the captain of Debate, Connor Johnston, a participant of Congress, and Chloe Gosk, a participant of Speech, what some of their favorite parts about the club being virtual are, they responded with the fact that they did not have to wait as long in between rounds or for results. Even though something they miss the most are the tournaments themselves, something they definitely do not miss is not having to wait for the results. The tournaments would start at the same time virtually as they would in-person. Yet, in person, the tournaments would end at about 9 p.m. but virtual tournaments end at about 6 or 7 p.m.. Another aspect club members reflected and communicated is that they miss participating in the club during in-person school because that way they were able to get together and have fun with ideas in between classes and after school, then demonstrate this at the tournaments. Finally, something that they feel like the novice participants are missing out on are the atmosphere of the tournaments and actually doing debate in-person since being directly in front of people as opposed to over a screen add a whole other layer to the events.

In conclusion, even though this year looks different than the years before, the members are trying their best to get through it.