Recently, the Walpole High School Speech and Debate Team made history when they placed third out of 25 schools on Oct. 21 at Revere High School, their best school placing to date. The team ranked higher than Newton-South, Needham and Natick, who all have generally placed higher than Walpole in past tournaments.
“Public speaking is the number one fear, so I’m just proud that we have a team of 43 kids who want to compete and are excited about this activity,” Speech and Debate Team coach Emily Murray said. “This team has grown so much in the past six years. Yes, it is great to come home with a trophy, but the real victory is having the confidence to participate in a difficult activity like speech and debate.”
Out of 43 total students, 15 students ranging from freshman to juniors placed in seven events, which allowed them to clinch third place as a school. Among all of the students who placed, sophomores Emily Tomasetti and Lindsay Navick stood out at this tournament. Navick placed fourth in the Speaker Points category and also placed first in the Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate.
“I like the nature of being part of a team, and I have made new friends through the experience. I also really enjoy going to tournaments and competing because that is when all the work you’ve done to prepare pays off, even if you don’t win anything,” Navick said.
Additionally, Tomasetti placed third in Prose Reading. This past April, she placed first overall in Play Reading at her first state championship, and she hopes to continue this year in a similar manner.
“I’m super proud of everyone, especially the novices, that competed at our most recent tournament, and they’re definitely all going to kill it this year! There isn’t one member of the Speech and Debate team that isn’t talented,” Tomasetti said. “It’s kind of hard to judge yet, but I started off strong this year! Hopefully I can do just as well as I did last year.”
Out of a total of 20 events, students compete in three rounds during the day in their event. After that, the six top speakers move on to participate in the final round. “The meet at Revere was different from other meets because there was a lot more nervous excitement. It was the first real tournament to kick off the year, and everyone was cheering each other on and giving their pieces their best shot,” Tomasetti said.
Members of the Speech and Debate Team will be attending the Sunvitational Speech and Debate Tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from Jan. 12-14. This meet consists of students from all over the country competing in various speech and debate events.