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Park Tudor Students Jade Thomas and Rex Burkman to compete in the Nationals Speech and Debate Tournament


Park Tudor Students Jade Thomas and Rex Burkman to compete in the Nationals Speech and Debate Tournament, which will take place this year online from June 14-20th, 2020!

 

Since 1931, the National Speech and Debate Tournament has elevated public speaking. Every summer, more than 6,000 middle and high school students travel to the largest academic competition in the world to debate current events, voice their views, and share their stories. After months of preparation, rigorous qualifying tournaments, and five days of prestigious national competition, the best of the best will be crowned champions in front of a live audience of thousands and tens of thousands more streaming the events online.

 

During times of crisis, the National Tournament’s mission is even more essential. Speech and debate provides comfort and strength to students. The National Tournament’s platform allows students to share their stories and speak up on the issues they care about, and that platform cannot be abandoned. We remain dedicated to connecting, supporting, and inspiring a diverse community committed to empowering students through speech and debate. 

 

Name: Rex Burkman

Graduation Year: 2022

 

Category you will compete in for Nationals: International Extemporaneous Speaking

 

Years on the Speech/Debate team: 2

 

What, if any, unexpected skills did you gain from competing?

 

My category requires the ability to think quickly and to synthesize information in a structured way. These are both skills that I have improved greatly in while competing in this category. I have also grown more confident as a thinker, analytic, and speaker. However, because my category deals with international politics, I have also learned a great deal about the challenges and progress of our world. I think that getting to explore that is the most valuable takeaway from competing in this category. 

 

What is a favorite memory from competing?

 

I really enjoy getting the chance to read about the events going on in the world and to think about how they connect with one another. I’ve always enjoyed reading the news, so getting the chance to learn more about this has been a strong point of competing for me. Another great memory is the chance that I’ve gotten to meet new people and to make new friends. I think that without question, competing in speech and debate has greatly helped me integrate and assimilate better into the school. 

 

What advice would you give an underclassmen who is considering joining the Speech/Debate team? Why should they join?

 

Speech and debate is a spectacular experience that helps to develop your abilities to persuade and discuss tremendously. I think that the most important thing is just to make sure that you enjoy the categories that you compete in and that you enjoy the experience. It’s an excellent opportunity to make friends and to discover new interests for yourself. 

 

Any other comments you would like to add: I would like to thank Dr. McGrath, Ms. Zavakos, and Mrs. Teets for the time, effort and dedication that they put into these events. 

Name: Jade Thomas

Graduation Year: 2021

 

Category you will compete in for Nationals: Original Oratory

 

Years on the Speech/Debate team: 3

 

What, if any, unexpected skills did you gain from competing?

 

I learned how to properly revise my work based on critiques and viewing the works of others. My event is not very large, so throughout the course of the season many of the competitors have already heard one another’s works. I didn’t want to keep reciting the same exact speech all season, however, and absorbed the techniques from other competitors that I admired in order to make my speech better. I guess you could say that my final revision was mostly my own ideas and values, with the remaining percentage consisting of techniques from other orators that I liked. 

 

What is a favorite memory from competing?

 

My favorite memory from competing was comforting younger teammates who were nervous before their rounds. Nerves are always high before tournaments and I’m pretty familiar with being anxious about not having your piece memorized. I just enjoyed reminding them that every tournament is just another opportunity to become a better speaker and that no one will remember if they slip up. I liked offering advice, helping them memorize before rounds, and seeing them improve over the course of the season. 

 

What advice would you give an underclassmen who is considering joining the Speech/Debate team? Why should they join?

 

I’ve become not only confident in my speaking abilities, but my ability to capture my thoughts in such a way that is both entertaining and informative for the audience.  I wouldn’t recommend joining to fill college apps though, unless you really like it. It’s fun if you love it and miserable if you don’t. Though Speech and Debate can be quite competitive, every single competitor participates not for accolades but because they genuinely like it. If you’re interested in acting, writing, politics, etc. Speech and Debate are wonderful outlets to become even better than you already are. It forces you to think critically and creatively, as well expose your mind to possibilities you hadn’t previously considered.