The Poland Regional High School Speech and Debate team is the top B Class team in the state and fourth overall. But who are they? What do they do? What is a tournament like?

Unless you’ve been to a Speech and Debate tournament, you’d probably have no idea what they are like. Here is a brief overview. On Saturday mornings, the team meets here at school and loads the bus. They then travel to the school hosting the meet.

The Speech section is generally divided into three regular rounds, and a final fourth round, which determines the rankings of the competitors in each category. Categories include: Humor interpretation (HI), Poetry, Prose, Novice Poetry and Prose, Dramatic interpretation (DI), Storytelling, Ensemble, Duo, Original Oratory (OO), Original Works (OW), and Oratorical Declamation (OD). Students are only allowed to compete in two categories per tournament, but sometimes competitors switch categories for different tournaments

Debate is slightly different. Instead of four rounds, there are many more. Debate is divided into Student Congress, Lincoln/Douglass and policy debate. We have members on the StuCo team, but not on the others.

Bus rides can be fun as well. Where else can you have Max Levine, Devon Conway, Adam DePalma and Erik Williams in the same place making fun of anything from Canadians to field hockey? Or how about winning at (a card game) seven times in a row, while at the same time trying to avoid losing the cards, on the bus, while it’s moving? Almost nothing, except a night watching TV, beats the Speech and Debate bus rides.

Here are the opinions of the team from some of the veteran members. Mandy Wheeler, a senior and three-year veteran, competes in Poetry, Prose and DI. She said, “I adore the team. I think it’s a great way to meet other folks (like at speech competitions) and it’s really helped me become more articulate.”

Junior Linda Fecteau, a 2nd year competitor, competes in DI, Ensemble/Duo and Poetry. She said “I really enjoy speech, not just for the competition, but also because of all the great people you meet. It is really demanding, but that is one of the great things about it, because it makes you push yourself”

Junior James Magee a 3 year competitor in HI, Poetry, OO, DUO and Prose said “I enjoy it. I find it a good opportunity to compete with my acting abilities. The best part of course is getting hardware. Nothing beats a good trophy to say ‘Nana, nana boo boo.'”

I am a Junior. I’ve competed for 2 years, and this year I am in HI, Prose and Duo. Speech is one of the best things I’ve ever tried. I used to be a really quiet, very self-conscious person and Speech really helped me come out of my shell.

Rounding out the team is Freshmen Amanda Grey, Sophomore Breanne Bailiy, Junior Carolyn Hricko, Junior Dan Burgess, Senior Emily Moser. On StuCo we have Freshman Austin Hayes; Sophomores Max Levine, Devin Conway, Brenden Blake, Junior Adam DePalma, Junior Erik Williams and Ethan Hyland; and our GNG representative Kelly Coughlin.

As of the state tournament on Jan. 25, James was 2nd in state for HI, Amanda Grey is first for Novice Poetry, Emily and Linda are third in Ensemble.

On Feb. 8, the Speech and StuCo teams competed in the Catholic Frensics (as apposed to forensics, which is working with dead bodies) League national qualifier tournament. The qualifiers for the CFL National competition will go to Arlington Virginia in May. They are: Emily Moser, James Magee for OI (Prose and Poetry) and Max Levine for StuCo. Best of luck to them.

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