posted Oct 31, 2014, 11:49 AM by BGPS Web


October 31, 2014

Prairie High School's Forensics Team is beating back glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking. Team members are putting their reasoning and communication skills to the test this weekend during the T-Wolf Invitational at Heritage High School, their first District IV Tournament of the year. Students will speak and argue their points in a variety of competitions ranging from impromptu and expository speaking to public forum and Lincoln-Douglas style debates. 

PHS students can select from several events in which to participate. Impromptu speaking, for example, requires students to prepare and deliver a speech on a surprise topic within a 6-minute time limit. Among debate events, teams of two argue opposing sides of a topic in a public forum style debate, while Lincoln-Douglas debates challenge student's debate skills in a one-on-one format. Debate participants must be prepared with both affirmative and negative arguments on assigned topics. A coin toss lets the winner choose either which side they want to argue or to go first or second. 

Speech and debate is a Washington Interscholastic Activities Association competitive team, and students who participate can earn points toward a letter in the same way that athletes can letter in sports. Students also take the skills they learn with them beyond high school. "Speech and Debate provides students an opportunity to learn and hone valuable communication and critical thinking skills and experience that they will employ for the rest of their lives," said Leah Zika, Prairie High School English Language Arts teacher and the Speech and Debate Team coach. 

Like something directly from a CNN episode of "Crossfire" with James Carville, PHS students practice debating and speaking after school. At this week's practice, students weighed the pros and cons of GMOs in a Public Forum debate, and other students delivered Duo Interpretation speeches with great enthusiasm and body language that enhanced their words. 

The teams schedule includes several events this year, including this weekend at Heritage High School and a home tournament November 7-8 at Prairie.