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LHS Speech and Debate compete at Columbine Rebellion Tournament

On Saturday, February 18 LHS students in speech and debate competed at the Columbine Rebellion speech and debate tournament at Columbine High School on Saturday.

Students came as early as 7:00 in the morning to compete in the events, and staying until they get their results much later in the day, sometimes as late as 9:00 to 10:00.

The LHS speech and debate team competes on Saturday tournaments at various high schools in multiple events. Events like interpretation consist mostly of acting, while others include humor, poetry, and drama. Public Forum and Extemporaneous Speaking are specifically geared towards competing in debate.

Senior Kathy Le enjoys doing events like Program Oral Interpretation, a collection of multiple, published literary pieces from a small black binder that is used in the performance.

“We have a lot of fun with each other and we support everyone as a family,” said Le.

Students compete in a number of rounds (depending on the event) throughout the day and wait to find out who did well enough to make it to finals. At the end of the competition, students stay for awards for all the students who placed well at finals.

LHS goes to different tournaments around the metro area, competing against 15 to 35 schools, depending on the size of the competition. Each tournament has about 500 individual entries.

Le personally likes to do interpretation of poetry and Program Oral Interpretation, which is a combination of prose, poetry and drama around a central theme. However, debate topics can be anything, from morals and ethics to current events.

“So basically what I do is competitive acting. I take poems and other pieces of literature and I perform them, however unlike acting we don’t get any props, makeup, sets, or any other people to perform with,” said senior Sam Burke.

In this particular event, Burke uses literally works like books Madness Vase by Andrea Gibson and You Don’t Have to Like Me by Alida Nugent. In Burke’s speech rounds there are roughly 6 to 7 people in the room.

Results wise, Burke barely missed finals in both of her events, but is happy with her results nonetheless.

“I work on my speeches with my coaches and look at my feedback from previous tournaments. It’s absolutely nerve racking, but I see that as a sign that I care. I’m sharing my voice and my messages that I am really passionate about. Even after four years I still get butterflies when I walk around,” said Burke.

Events for speech and debate are not only somewhat rigorous on the day of the presentation, they are also demanding in the preparation it takes to get ready for one’s events, like sophomore Julia Valdez.

“I love speech and debate. It’s basically my life. It’s nerve racking at the beginning of the day and season, but eventually you get used to random people watching you. I take about 2 weeks to memorize my piece and from then on I just fix things the judges don’t like,” said Valdez.

For Valdez, not only does it take intense practice and dedication, it also helps her beyond just the one activity.

“Speech and debate teaches you to be more confident and it’s definitely made me more outgoing. Not to mention it helps with speeches and presentations at school,” said Valdez.

LHS students who did well include Natalie Parkhurst, Maddie Engeman, Julia Valdez and Jack Rogers.