Douglas High School hosts speech and debate competition
Douglas High School Speech and Debate students are gearing up this week to host 22-25 schools with 150-200 students for a Northern Nevada Forensics League tournament on Friday and Saturday.
As the host school, debate teacher Karen Heine is in charge of providing judges, meals for judges, the topics for certain debate sections and room arrangements for schools staying overnight.
Heine is still looking for judges from the community. She said it is always helpful to have more judges than necessary present at the competition and hopes this weekend the library will be full of individuals ready to judge.
“It is a wonderful opportunity to see kids doing awesome things,” Heine said. “It is easy to think kids these days waste their time on the computer or on their phones, but if you are looking to see our future leaders and if you are looking for hope in the next generation, you’ll find it here.”
Lea Gifford is a senior at Douglas High School and has participated in debate since she was a freshman four years ago.
“I love the community of people,” Gifford said. “I think there are so many different kinds of people in the community and so many different kinds of people who are drawn to debate and it is a very bright and creative community.”
Gifford is planning to pursue a career in acting after she graduates and said her favorite part of competitions is performing her humorous interpretation.
“There is such an artistic aspect to debate,” Gifford said.
Willard Franklin and Tobin Schultz, both seniors at Douglas, have been participating in debate since their freshman year and have been debate partners ever since.
Franklin said debate improves confidence and Schultz said it is fun to compete and it builds a community, not only at Douglas, but with schools within the area.
“It helps you be more informed on current events and aware of what is going on in the world,” Schultz said. “It helps you come up with your own opinions about things.”
Franklin and Schultz will be participating in the public forum event in the competition this weekend.
They will be debating the issue of gun control and background checks against another team of two students.
Six speaking events will be held 3-9 p.m. Friday. Saturday is debate day and will begin at 8 a.m.
Debate competitions are public forum, policy debate, Lincoln-Douglas debate and congressional debates. Saturday will go until around 8 p.m.
Community members hoping to help judge this weekend can email, call or text Heine at email@example.com and (775) 790-0659.