The Student News Site of Grantsville High School

The Tumbleweed

The Tumbleweed

The Tumbleweed

Debate Program Launches with High Rankings


Future lawyers, politicians and those who just want to get in the last word often choose Debate class as an elective English credit, and for GHS that was an option that reappeared after several years missing on the class schedule options.

“I thought it would be a fun experience and it would help me with life skills like public speaking and how to research topics. I thought it would also look good on a college application,” said Nathan Putter, 12th grade, Captain of the debate team.

“I feel like the expectations for the team are pretty fair as it is our first year. I think that this year we really just have to figure out how to really compete and be competitive at tournaments,” said Putter.  Apparently the team is already learning this lesson well, as their first tournament brought home 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th place wins in their public forum competition.

With so many awards, some might think this must be an easy competition. “There’s a lot of stuff that goes into debate and a long process building cases so I think once we figure out our strengths and weaknesses we have a lot of potential to be a really competitive team,” Putter said, not taking their first novice wins too seriously.

Story continues below advertisement

“As a first year program, we are just competing in a set of 5 events this first semester. We want to develop solid skills there and then expand to compete in other events as we get that foundation set,” said Lizzy Hulet, Debate teacher and coach. “We have had a great start in our first Novice tournament, but there is a lot still to learn.”

For the first tournament, the team focused on Public Forum, a two -person team debate that argues public issues in policy, like the current debate topic of the U.S. expanding its military presence in the Artic. But these topics change, and in November the students will have to develop all new research, claims, cases and arguments for the new topic on whether the U.S. government should forgive student loans.

Debate may sound fairly academic, but according to the team, it can also get pretty heated. “It’s a mentality of walking in thinking positive, not being anxious, feeling confident in your case on both sides, because you don’t know what you will be arguing until you walk into the round, said junior, Sophie Ball.

Debate students are already practicing some skills that they hope will benefit them for life. “I’m learning how to stay calm, collected when someone is coming at me and trying to diminish my case in a super aggressive way,” said Ball. “I think  it will help me when I have people trying to get heated in an argument in the future because I’ll be the one that is calm and collected and able to think in that moment. Then I’m not the one that sounds like a fool.”

Debate is a year-round team and they plan to compete in eight tournaments this year traveling to different schools for each tournament. Hulet said that the team has ambitious goals for the year. “It’s not really about the awards, the trophy or the win to me. It’s about learning confidence, learning how to express thoughts coherently, and developing the skill of public speaking that will serve you throughout your life in job interviews, in controversial conversations, and in expressing yourself clearly. Yes, the wins are fun, but being a human being who can communicate well with others – that trumps a trophy anyday.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Tumbleweed

Your donation will support the student journalists of Grantsville High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Tumbleweed

Comments (0)

All The Tumbleweed Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *