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The Park Press

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Winter Classic Speech and Debate Tournament

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The Winter Classic Speech and Debate Tournament was hosted by Wheeling Park High School on January 6th. This was the first tournament in Wheeling Park’s history that took place on ‘our turf’ with an impressive 18 schools from WV and PA in attendance. The Speech Team won 1st place Sweepstakes, Debate placed 3rd Sweepstakes and the team won 1st place Overall Speech and Debate Sweepstakes.

Hosting the tournament was an event very much looked forward to by all Speech and Debate team members.

“Having the tournament here at Park was so important to me because we go to tournaments and compete at schools we’ve hardly ever seen, there was a comfort in the familiarity of the classrooms we performed in and the awards ceremony held by our own alumni,” said Julia Kelly, 1st Place POI winner.

Being at home also evoked an emotional impact on the members of this record-setting team. “Having the tournament at Park was surreal. It felt amazing winning on our home turf and I’m so proud of this team, they are like my babies,” said Chloe Humway, 2nd place Informative competitor.

“Being a member of the Debate team is a great learning experience, you keep up to date with current topics and you get to do a lot of research and it pushes you to learn more. The Debate team is a great environment, you have great coaches and great teammates,” said Evan Stingle, 2nd place LD competitor. “Overall I think that it was a really good turnout, a lot of schools showed up, it was really nicely done and they [the coaches] did a really nice job. Also, being able to final in Debate and walk up on to the stage at your own school and being cheered on by your teammates at your own school is a very memorable thing. ”

“Being a speaker means that I get to spread my knowledge and overall inform people on what is happening in the world,” said Jana Schodzinski, 1st place Extemporaneous Speaker. “Having the tournament at home allowed me to have some spectators while giving my speech. In my event, no competitors can watch your speech, so having a friend from home spectate was a wonderful experience.”

Wheeling Park’s inaugural tournament was no easy feat. Hosting an event of this size took a lot of planning and working to become more familiar with technology. Having a home tournament was an idea that was born long ago.

“When I started as a coach for this team, I was like ‘why don’t we have a tournament here’ so this year we started putting it into the works, as early as June. So I basically emailed every coach in the tri-state area and invited them to come to our tournament. It is hard to start up a tournament that is not already on people’s schedules, but everyone was really receptive ,” said Isabella Droginske, a coach of the Speech and Debate team. “Hosting a tournament is a logistical nightmare, trying to figure out times and one of the things that we didn’t anticipate is that our building is big and confusing which is kind of like an obvious problem, but it added time to our schedule.”

However, hosting a tournament is not all stress and uncertainty. It is also a wonderful opportunity to bring old members of the Speech and Debate team back to their old stomping grounds. “We had a lot of alumni come back and help us and they were in the tabroom [the website that the judges use to give scores to competitors]  and were judging for us. Defending home turf was just an amazing feeling,” said Droginske.

The Speech and Debate team was honored to collaborate with the CTE programs as well. “I loved our partnership with the CTE programs. I thought that our trophies were really pretty. I love that our students made them and we also partnered with the students in culinary to make food for our judges so just involving the whole school community really was fun for me. I also loved how much help we had from alumni. We had many former Speech and Debate members come back to give us support,” said Jennifer Mathieu, a coach of the Speech and Debate team. “The tournament was so much fun, I love working with Mrs. Droginske. We work really well together because we are both very detail oriented. One of my favorite things, of course, was to bring home the first place plaque.”

Make sure that you show your support for the Speech and Debate team as they continue their 43-year long winning streak as they travel on the Road to 44!

 

 

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About the Contributor
Anna Contraguerro
Anna Contraguerro, Copy Editor
  • Journalism II
  • Sophomore
  • Speech and Debate Team, Park Players
  • "I have been involved in over 15 Towngate productions and have also placed in 5 creative writing contests in the Tri-State Area."
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