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The Student News Site of Lindale High School

Eagle Eye News

The Student News Site of Lindale High School

Eagle Eye News

Debater’s Debut

Freshman Excel During First Season
Photo Courtesy: JP Fugler

They take a deep breath, looking around them. They make sure the judges are ready, then turn to their opponent to do the same. Hand hovering over the timer, computer open, notes next to them, they prepare to give their speech. A speech to win.

Freshman debaters Connor Stevens and Audrey Ratliff have earned various awards and advanced to state level competitions. They began in the fall semester and have since competed in multiple tournaments. 

“It’s exciting to see the next generation of debaters coming so far in one year,” speech and debate coach JP Fuglar said. “It’s been a while since we have had a freshman latch on to a specific event so early, so seeing their success has been exciting.”

Stevens mainly competes in Lincoln Douglas (LD) debate, which is a philosophical one-on-one style event. Competitors are given a new topic every two months, and must create an affirmative case supporting the topic, and a negative case, negating the topic. 

“I love my event,” Stevens said. “It’s an opportunity to express myself, really express my character, and what I believe in.”

Stevens has won 10 tournaments so far. These tournaments are all day, usually on a Saturday, and occur at high schools. To win a tournament, Stevens has to compete in all three promised rounds, make it to finals, and then win two to three elimination rounds. 

“I think my results have really manifested in my excellence in the activity,” Stevens said. “I think it’s kinda of a prerequisite to actually achieving anything.”

Debate has multiple circuits, each with different topics. Stevens advanced in the Texas Forensics Association circuit to state, which required 10 points. He also won first place at district in the UIL circuit. Stevens has also qualified for nationals in the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) circuit. Stevens also competed at the Tournament of Champions, TOC, tournament. 

“I feel very proud of my achievements,” Stevens said. “I hope that some year I will be a state champion.”

Next year, Stevens plans to compete in CX debate, which is a two on two debate focused on proving the success of plans competitors create for a topic. He also plans to compete in congressional debate, which is modeled after the US congress, as well as informativ– a 10 minute memorized speech informing an audience. 

“I feel like debate as an activity is something that students should aspire to and I encourage all students to participate in,” Stevens said. “There is a wide range of events that allow for different forms of expression that people would find very unique to their character.”

Ratliff also mainly competes in LD. She also competes in extemporaneous speaking, which is where competitors draw a topic, have 30 minutes to prepare, and give a speech no less than 7 minutes about the topic. 

“My favorite event is extemp,” Ratliff said. “I love competing because it’s an opportunity to not only find your voice but boost your confidence in public speaking.”

Ratliff has competed in several tournaments, medaling in some of those. These tournaments mainly occur during the first semester and beginning half of the second semester, and to medal she must make it to the elimination rounds.

“Debate is very different from a lot of other things I have done,” Ratliff said. “I love it, it’s just a great opportunity to meet new people and try new experiences.”

Ratliff has won third at UIL district, and second at UIL regionals. She has qualified to state as well, where she won one out of three promised rounds. 

“I am really happy about my advancement,” Ratliff said. “I am very proud I was able to make it this far and hopefully I will place next year.”

Next year, Ratliff will compete in LD, Extemporaneous speaking, as well as Congress. 

“The future of debate for me is hopefully placing at UIL state,” Ratliff said. “That, and just competing and being more versatile in my events.”

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About the Contributors
Madison Barnes
Madison Barnes, Staff Writer
Madison is a sophomore and a staff member of the Eagle Eye Newspaper. She enjoys reading and writing as her main hobbies, as well as listening to music. She also participates in speech and debate, where her main events are Lincoln-Douglas debate, poetry, and extemp. She also participates in theater as a stage hand. She hopes to attend TJC for two years then switch to SMU to study Law.
Diya Patel
Diya Patel, Staff Writer
Diya is a sophomore staff writer for the Eagle Eye and a member of the Speech and Debate team. She is a flute player for the Pride of Lindale band. Diya enjoys listening to music mostly Taylor Swift and hanging out with her friends. She hopes to attend the University of Washington and major in biology to pursue a career in dentistry.

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