Walpole Hosts the Massachusetts Speech and Debate Novice Tournament

Students prepare for debates in the hallway.
Shayan Raza of Needham High School gives an original oratory presentation.
Samuel Lieberman of Acton-Boxborough Regional HIgh School gives an extemporaneous speaking presentation.

By Katerina Gebhardt, Greg Tsougas, and Liam Welch

Walpole High School Speech and Debate Team hosted the Massachusetts Speech and Debate League Novice Tournament for the second time on Saturday, Oct. 20. Over 600 students from around the state competed in events such as the Lincoln-Douglas debate, Prose Reading, Group Discussion and many others. Along with the opportunity to learn what a tournament is like, students had the opportunity to meet their fellow competitors who they will most likely compete with for the next four years.

The team has been planning this tournament since the spring. According to Speech Team Coach Emily Murray, the tournament was well executed and set a good start to the year.

“I felt like I was running around with my head chopped off during the week of the tournament,” speech team coach Emily Murray said. “But everything fell nicely into place.”

The tournament was the team’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and the team raised almost $3,000 on concessions alone.

“I realized just how proud I am of all the students and parents,” Murray said, “and I would definitely host it again.”

Along with the opportunity to learn what a tournament is like, students had the opportunity to meet their fellow competitors who they will most likely compete with for the next four years.

“Everyone is super supportive,” sophomore speech and debate team member Aditi Belle said. “Everyone is really nice, and even if you mess up they tell you good job.”

The tournament prepared novices for what a real tournament is like, and despite the fact that there were no winners, novices were still judged by varsity speech students. Instead of an awards ceremony, four students from around the state showcased their events in the auditorium.

“Now that I know what a tournament is like, I feel more prepared for future tournaments,” Belle said.

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