Talking to a wall seem awkward? Not to Speech and Debate students.


     You may have seen students talking to walls, but who said a wall can’t be your best friend too? It may seem like a crazy idea but students in Speech and Debate make it seem normal.

     “[For] all of the acting and public speaking events, you have to practice in front of a wall. You run your piece over and over again because they’re all ten minutes, so instead of wasting ten minutes of someone else’s time by performing in front of them, just perform to a wall,” sophomore Ailie Wood said.

   Speech and Debate can mean a variety of things for t people, but what is it really?

   “Speech and Debate as a whole activity is a lot of different things. It can be public speaking skills, it can be performance, debate, it involves acquiring a lot of information about the world around you,” lead speech coach Forest Sares said.

   There are over 20 events. One of these events is extemporaneous speaking (abbreviated as extemp).

     “Extemporaneous event where you have limited amount of time to prepare an answer to a question or a response to a specific quote,” Sares said.

    Another event is interpretation, which has different categories such as humor, drama, poetry and impromptu.

   “The interps divide a lot of things. What we do involves the preparation of ten-minute performances that are cut from existing plays, movies, books or sometimes even TV shows,” Sares said.

   While interp is reenacting movies or books, public speaking involves writing your own piece.

    “Public speaking events like original oratory and informative speaking are where you write your own piece that’s ten minutes long, either on a persuasive or informative topic,” Sares said.

   Speech and Debate benefits students by improving their speaking skills.

   “It can be a lot of different things to a lot of different people and you kind of get out of it what you want to whether that’s more confidence or more world awareness, better public speaking skills or really anything. There’s no limit in what speech and debate can really do if you put in the effort,” Sares said.

     Each of these events has their own purpose in helping students learn how to argue as well as boost up their confidence with speaking in front of an audience.

   “With public speaking, I’m becoming a lot more confident of a speaker, I am able to articulate my words better and also become a better writer,” Wood said.

       Speech and Debate also helps in other areas.

    “It helps you stay informed on current issues … and speaking on the spot,’’ sophomore Jimena Cristerna said.

   Speech and Debate has helped students and prepared them for the future not only by improving their speech and writing.

   “It really is important that people have the ability to communicate with other people, and Speech and Debate on a very fundamental level teaches us how to talk to other people in a professional setting,” Sares said. “Things like teaching kids the way to correctly address other people and not use ‘umm’ in their sentences, to think before they speak. This is all very core material for Speech and Debate; before we get into what events are you doing these basic tools are extremely important for how to go forward in the adult world,”

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