Speech and Debate Season at Poland


The Poland Seminary High School Speech and Debate season is starting soon. The first tournament of the season will be October 29, 2022. The team has ten members this year, spanning from freshmen to seniors in a variety of different categories. 

The main coach of the team is Mr. Humphreys. He has been coaching Speech and Debate at Poland for 3 years and along with assistant coaches for a few of the other categories, they help the students learn the in and outs of speech and debate.

“I enjoy watching my students come out of rounds in excitement and watching them grow. Watching my students succeed, I am getting the same joy I got when I was competing. I enjoy passing on my wisdom and knowledge to the students, and it’s a lot of fun,” Mr. Humphreys said. 

Freshman Sadie Moore is in Dramatic Interpretation. In this category, the participants will pick a speech from a pre-approved list. They work to memorize the speech and perform it weekly. The main focus of their speech is the acting within it and the inflection with which they recite the piece. 

The students in Informational Speaking include the following: Freshman Rowan Dowine, Sophomore Erika Casey, and Junior Owen Puhl.

Informational is a category in which the students pick a topic and write a speech about that topic with a slideshow and visual aids. They perform the same speech every week.

Humorous Interpretation is another category. Junior Liam Burk and Senior Colin Anderson are the participants in this event. Humorous Interpretation is the category where the contestants pick a script out of pre-approved speeches online and memorize the scene. They then have to perform all of the parts in the scene by themselves. They perform the same script every week.

There is a category called Congressional Debate. The participants include Sophomore Josylin McMannis and Freshman Rashmeet Kaur. Congressional Debate is a category where every week the participants are given several fictional bills like the ones that would appear in the real Congress. The participants spend the week writing two to three speeches on the bills. They can choose to write speeches supporting the bills or speeches against the bills. At the tournaments on Saturdays, they read their speech, and the other members of the category ask them questions regarding their speeches.

The students in United States Extemporaneous Speaking are Freshman Delaney Cozart and Sophomore Hannah Shaber.  United States Extemporaneous speaking is when the contestants show up to the tournament on Saturday not knowing what the prompts are. They get a prompt when they get there and have 30 minutes to write a speech on it. They then perform the speech for the judges. They have to write and perform three speeches throughout the day.

Delaney Svatovski is also on the team but is undecided in the event she is going to perform in.

The students in speech go to tournaments every Saturday. They perform their speeches for judges in different rounds throughout the day. Their goal is to attempt to place within the top six. 

“Going to tournaments …is so much fun, and you feel so accomplished afterwards, like you’re doing this, and it feels wonderful,” Casey said.

The kids seem to enjoy the camaraderie the team provides. They have game nights once a month to accompany their all team practices. This helps with team building and makes speech fun for the participants

“Even if we win no trophies, or or we win them all, we will have an amazing time because all of our coaches and all of my teammates we really support each other,  lift each other up, and everything we do is really for each other,” Shaber said.

It seems like the Speech and Debate Team is going to have a great season. If you would like more information about the Speech and Debate Team at PSHS, please visit their website at https://www.polandhsforensics.com/.