More Than Arguing

Insight Into Speech and Debate Club at CP


Taylor Good, Guest Writer

When regarding Speech and Debate, many assume that it is composed of passionate individuals arguing freely without regulation, where simple disagreements intensify into heated exchanges that end with tears and division. However, the club is far more than just simple bantering on trivial, nonsensical issues, but consists of long hours of intense research and writing to conjure a successful argument against their opponent.

 “The main aspect of debate is really forming arguments in response to the arguments of others,” said Senior and president of Speech and Debate, Alejandro Florez. “There are two different sides of debate: there’s the debate side and then there’s the speech side. The club officially is called the “Speech and Debate Club” because we offer both debate-oriented competition and also speech, for example, reciting poetry and reciting speeches.”

Speech and Debate provide various categories in which students can compete, such as Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Congressional Debate, and Oral Interpretation. The competitors spend weeks of rigorous preparation to successfully dispute and/or support the topic issued by the directors of the competition, and compete on weekends and Fridays during school.

“So we travel to other schools, usually around the Houston area,” said Florez. “Sometimes we have overnight tournaments. Basically, we go on a bus or in a minivan and it’s really fun. We stop for food on the way; we get to the tournament and compete.”

Although the club is filled with aggressive mock trials, intense writing sessions, and back-to-back competitions, the club also provides opportunities for students to participate in volunteer work and host school events, such as College Park’s yearly Elective Fair. 

“Part of the club is not only academics like competing but it is also helping out in the community, so things like volunteering, community service. So we’re having a Litter Day Clean-Up event on March 26th in coordination with the Woodlands Township,” said Florez. 

 Florez, who is also an honor roll student in the Academy, is a prominent member of the club, upholding positions as Historian and officer and currently serving as president for the second year. Florez was successfully able to move into the state competition in San Antonio last January, and hearing of his academic and debate accomplishments, Rice University awarded him a full-ride scholarship into their institution.

“So I am a minority–I am Hispanic– and there is a non-profit organization called Questbridge that seeks to connect low-income students who are disadvantaged with top colleges in the country,” said Florez. “Usually, what happens is that a set number of students are invited based on their income eligibility, and when they apply to this program Questbridge chooses only 6,000 out of about 16,000 applications to send them to top colleges. And so the student decides, “Oaky, which colleges do I want my application sent to?”

For Senior and current liaison, Hafa Buza, Speech and Debate has instilled confidence within her. 

“Personally I’m not a very outspoken person–I have never had in the past– but speech and debate actually kind of changed that in me because I never quite realized the power of my words,” said Buza.

With the aggressiveness and the competitiveness of the club, Buza understood that her voice possessed power. 

“I would not be the same person I was before Speech and Debate because I made a ‘180’ with my life and just being able to stand up for myself and to justify myself. To me, it’s fundamental because it reminds me that my voice has power and that I don’t need to fight with fists or any other thing. As long as I can speak, as long as I know how to speak, I can therefore fend for myself in the world,” said Buza. 

Speech and Debate club meets every Wednesday from 2:45-3:30 in room 2206. For any information, please contact Mrs. Upshaw during D-Advisory or email her  @[email protected]