War of the words

Kimberly Mei, Staff Writer


     Four speech students travelled to Amarillo to compete in the state tournament March 1-3. Seniors Brandon Satterwhite and Keegan Latham and juniors Julia Bauer and Devin Guthrie performed interpretation events such as original oratory, duet acting and dramatic interpretation, hoping to lock down what would be Plano’s fourth straight state championship.

     For the past two days, the students arrived at the tournament between 8 a.m. and noon, and have not left the fray until after midnight. In order to even qualify to compete at the tournament, students had to do well at the earlier local tournaments.

     “The competition is tough,” Satterwhite said. “We competed against the best speech and debate competitors in the state. Overall it is a great experience. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to compete with such talented individuals.”

     Satterwhite said that simply advancing past preliminary rounds is not an easy feat in itself. Overall, speech helped Plano tally up the second highest number of points out of all schools competing and win second in sweepstakes.

     “My fondest memory is definitely how I was very nervous before my last preliminary rounds,” Satterwhite said. “I took a walk, and it started snowing really hard. I’m always going to remember seeing all my fellow competitors mucking about in the snow with only minutes until our last preliminary round started.” 


     After last week’s Harvard speech tournament, debate students have brought Plano’s legacy to Amarillo to compete in the state tournament. Along with speech, debaters competed to continue their past string of championships. Doing so would ensure Plano’s ticket to nationals.

     Debaters competed against other qualifying students from all over the state, including Plano West, East and Jasper. After arriving Wednesday night, preliminary rounds took place Thursday, semifinal rounds on Friday and final rounds on Saturday. Events included different forms of debate, such as congressional debate, public forum debate and Lincoln Douglas debate, as well as extemporaneous or impromptu speaking on either foreign or domestic subjects.

     “It was like local tournaments, but you got to see a lot of new people and how people from other places viewed the events as well,” junior Asha Pavuluri said. “The biggest challenge was adapting to the different judges that came from all over the state.”

     The team won second in sweepstakes overall, and because of many individuals placing in extemporaneous speaking and public forum debate, second for the most nationals qualifiers at the specific tournament. The team also won the Lanny Naeglin award for the most qualifiers over a period of time.

     “We work to ridiculous degrees in order to be prepared for tournaments; however, we make sure that we have fun while we are doing it,” senior Sean Oliver said. “We love what we do, and we all just decide to make the most of it by making it all an enjoyable experience.”