by Payton Gentry | staff writer

The debate team is back from Princeton University with high honors achieved at a national level competition.

“When we go to Princeton we see a very different type of competition,” Debate sponsor Barbara McCain said. “We get those people from the New York area and it’s totally different from the type of competition we see down here.”

Senior Nader Syed has been on the debate team all four years. He has been recognized in many different competitions. He really likes the different advantages he gets from being in debate.

“I’ve been in debate officially since the sixth grade. In high school, I’ve been in since the very first day. I really joined because my parents told me that I should try debate when I was signing up for classes in fifth grade,” Syed said. “I just continued on into high school. I really enjoy doing debate not just because it’s something I’m apparently good at, but also because it’s a forum where people of all different backgrounds can come in and air their concerns about the world. Plus, it’s just so fun to compete.”

Even though this competition was in Princeton, the way the debate worked was very similar to the normal types of competitions students compete in in Texas.

“Each student I took was involved in Extemporaneous Speaking and what they do is they have files  of articles on current event topics. They then go to the draw room and draw three topics  that are on current events. Then they have 30 minutes to make a speech, they can go back to their files to get the support they need for their speech. They go in one at a time  into a room with a judge, the judge then ranks them. And the students with the highest rank moves on and they repeat the cycle again,” McCain said.

McCain was very pleased with the results from the trip and so were the students.

“Yeah, I got one award. I got to quarterfinals in my main event, extemporaneous speaking. It was basically the top 24 at the tourney. And again, I’d ordinarily be happy, but I am accustomed to going much further. But, eh, you win some, you lose some. For quarterfinalists, they gave out medals with pictures of tigers on them. Princeton’s mascot is the tiger,” Syed said.

Everyone that went on the trip took something away from it, whether it was the experience or just being at a major University.

“It was fun! I left a little disappointed, considering I didn’t make it nearly as far I expected to, but I did learn some valuable lessons… and I got to visit my dream school,” Syed said.

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About The Author

Payton Gentry is a senior at Johnson high school. He is a new writer for My Jag News. Outside of writing he plays varsity tennis for Johnson and enjoys watching hockey.

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