The Great Bend High School Debate Team earned 4th place honors out of 14 schools at the Hays High School Arrowhead Debate Invitational this past Saturday. This week’s competition marked the opening of the 2019 debate season which will focus on the need for U.S. arms sales to foreign countries.
Specifically, the resolution for this school year will be that “the United States federal government should substantially reduce Direct Commercial Sales and/or Foreign Military Sales of arms from the United States.” The debaters alternate each tournament between affirming and negating the resolution for five rounds of debate. GBHS students began researching in July on all aspects of the arm sales topic.
“High school debate builds critical thinking skills by forcing students to see both sides of issues,” noted GBHS debate coach Kim Heath.
Senior Bayle Sandy and sophomore Skylar Fletcher led the team with a 2nd place finish in the experienced division. Sandy finished the day with perfect speaker points.
“To finish 1st place in every round of competition is a fitting reward for a senior that works so hard to not only prepare herself, but also lead and assist the younger debaters,” Heath said.
Great Bend was also represented in the experienced division by second-year debater Daniel Abbott and novice debater Dalton Dicks. “These seniors have been core leaders on the research and development of the team’s argumentation,” commented Heath.
Sophomores Malachi Wasson and Dustin Emig placed 5th in the junior varsity division. Wasson is a second-year debater, but the Hays tournament was Emig’s first experience at a debate competition.
“The fact that they were able to place against other experienced debaters speaks both to Dustin’s skill and to Malachi’s leadership and guidance. I see good things for these two in the future,” said Heath.
Also in the junior varsity division, the team of Dalton Ruble and Thain Bowman, and the team of Isaiah Smith and Katria Kindscher competed for GBHS. While Ruble and Smith each debated last year, this was the first tournament for Bowman and Kindscher.
Two freshmen, Adeline Dougherty and Maddix Pokoroski, achieved 4th place in the novice division. The novice team of Xanna Smith and Kenia Balderrama rounded out the contribution to the squad’s 4th place sweepstakes finish. Heath explained, “It is so exciting to watch the young debaters move from fear to excitement as they build their confidence speaking.”
This Saturday the Great Bend High School squad will travel to Halstead.