From sun to snow

Debate makes it to Harvard

Speech and debate students travelled to Boston, Massachusetts  February 12 to compete at a Harvard University debate tournament.


“Ever since I was in high school, I have dreamed of attending this tournament,” debate coach Rory Mckenzie said. “It’s the largest tournament in the country at the oldest university in the U.S.”


The team went to Boston where they traveled to the Harvard campus to compete in the worldwide event.  Some of the events were public forum debate, policy debate, Lincoln-Douglas debate, congressional debate, humorous interpretation, and extemporaneous speaking.


“I was nervous about taking twenty-nine students to Harvard, especially once we realized how cold it was going to be,” debate teacher Janice Caldwell said.  “It was an amazing trip overall.”


With all the snow that the northeast was getting, the team only competed on Saturday.  That didn’t stop them, however, from going out and enjoying the weather.


“The snow was everywhere!  It made traveling to and from competition difficult,” debate student Cody Gustafson said. “Regardless though, it was a really cool experience to see all the snow.”


Some of the places the team visited were the USS Constitution, the Boston Aquarium, Boston Harbor, Paul Revere’s house, The Old North Church, Fenway Park, Quincy Market, and Faneuiel Hall.


“My biggest hope is each student will never underestimate their potential to attend an Ivy League school.” said Caldwell.  “I hope the history allowed us to see where our literature, culture, and historical past came from.”


Mckenzie explained that the experience going to the campus will be very helpful for the graduating seniors, as well as the upcoming debate students.


“It gives them an eye opening scenario that college is coming up,” Mckenzie said.  “It also gives them a taste of competing on a national circuit.  Many people don’t realize that the world of ESPN college recruitment of athletes is very similar to the world that exists for debate.  Getting to watch these national competitors in person is a humbling and motivating experience for everyone.”

Along with the competition experience, it also helped the students bond more and get to know one another on a more personal level.  In addition, the coaches were able to become closer to their students.


“I loved watching all the students interact with each other and with the accompanying parents.” Caldwell said.  “I fell in love with the character and politeness of the students.  I told them this was Mr. Mckenzie’s dream and I was so happy that we could all be apart of it.”