Hanks's Speech and Debate team has reached a new high point in the 2017-2018 school year and an exponential increase in members brings forth a new set of obstacles and opportunities for the team.
"I think a bigger team is ultimately a great thing because we have more people that can bring advice or helpful criticism to make our performances better," said Brittany Riley, who works on dramatic interpretation. "Its's also a bad thing because members of the team can be shadowed by others with so many voices. There are so many people that it can get disorganized sometimes with everyone trying to do certain events, but I think it'll work out once everyone gets the hang of it."
The more popular of the events is "Humorous and Dramatic Interpretation," where a student must learn a 10 minute scene from any piece of media and then preform it in front of a panel of judges. The piece's context contrasts greatly but tends to address a real world problem.
In "Extemporaneous speaking," the participant is given 30 minutes to write a speech on a current issue or event. Unlike interpretation, the selection of topics is far more limited, as well as the time you're allotted to work on your performance.
"Regardless of whether or not it's for a competition," said senior, Garrett Haire. "It [extemporaneous speaking] really helps me not only with keeping up with news and current events but also gives a platform to express my opinion on them."
However, it is the tournament-styled competition, "Lincoln-Douglas" that puts the debate in speech and debate. In this event, two opponents argue in 'affirmation' or 'negation' of a particular issue that affects people on a national or even global level. This competition differs from most other major events because one is directly competing against someone else, as opposed to the aforementioned performance-styled events.
To counter the difficulty of managing such a diverse team, the debate team held elections to determine who would lead the team to success.
Senior Karmann Escandon secured the presidential vote, with Lauren Saenz landing the position of vice president and Johnny Ruffier as secretary. The three were also in charge of managing Lincoln Douglas Debate, Interpretation, and Extemporaneous Speaking, respectively.
"Karmann is a very likable person [and] she used that to her advantage," said former Speech and Debate president Erich DeSchepper. "She reaches out to people and people love her in a genuine way."
With a new year comes new new faces, new leadership, and path for the Hanks Speech and Debate team that is yet to be unveiled.