Speech and Debate to State


In a metaphorical whirlwind, COVID-19 swept the world out from under itself. As Speech and Debate competitors lost the “public” aspect of speaking, they were placed in a faraway and unfamiliar place: the Ohio Speech and Debate Association’s proclaimed Kansas. However, Kansas brought about technicolor, and competitors excelled once again in the 2022 in-person states. 

During shutdowns, Speech and Debate operated differently from any other activity: it never stopped. Instead, tournaments began to opt for virtual competition. Proving a unique struggle, the community was forced to adapt. For example, those who competed in two-person categories began to try different events in light of COVID protocol. 

As the pandemic destroyed competitors’ worlds, it also created new ones. The virtual landscape brought countless opportunities to competitors: the world was now at the tip of their fingers. Previously limited to where a car, plane, or other physical transportation could bring them, virtual tournaments brought everything home. 

Throughout the pandemic, support sprung from a multitude of networks. For example, competitors began sharing their experiences on various Instagram accounts, making up for the lack of the usual face-to-face memories. As it turns out, the speech and debate community prevailed through these times and continues to break boundaries. 

At the state tournament, this was no different. The competition welcomed competitors from everywhere in the state, every style of tournament, and kept them for multiple days. In what seemed to be a logistical olympics, it was by no means easy, but the tournament remained successful for all competitors. 

Using the new online landscape, competitors were more involved than ever. To access their competition itinerary, students used the service, Speechwire. Additionally, it easily compiles results, putting them in the hands of students even quicker. 

Poland competed among 79 other high schools in the state competition, sending five competitors. For four, it was their first competition at a regular state tournament. For two, it was their first state tournament. 

While we may never be truly back to “Kansas,” the speech and debate community has grown for the better, and Poland is the perfect example. In June, make sure to check out the national tournament in Louisville, Kentucky; three Poland students will be participating!