Speech and Debate: Everything You Need to Know

Logan Ward (Junior Debate captain) and Skylar Seavey (Junior Speech captain) auditioning a student for the 2021-2022 Speech and Debate team.

It’s no secret that a lot of people at this school like to talk. And for those that do, there’s a club for you. Speech and Debate. If you went to SCAPA Bluegrass, chances are you’re familiar with it. However, high school Speech and Debate is a little bit different than it was in middle school. That said, let’s dive into the world of Lafayette Speech and Debate.


The team’s Senior Speech Captain is Arden Ensor; the Junior Speech Captain is Skylar Seavey. Both captains are acting majors for SCAPA Theater. Arden participates in eleven clubs, and Skylar is one of the junior class co-presidents. On the debate end of things, the Senior Debate Captain is Julie Sharpe; the Junior Debate Captain is Logan Ward. Julie participates in a vast array of extracurriculars; Logan is also an officer for the Student Y.

Ms. Rachel Seavey is the team’s coach. Mx. Fuller is returning as the sponsor and is offering her help in coaching (having been one formerly).


Both Speech and Debate offer a wide range of categories appealing to broad interests. For Speech, there is:
Dramatic Interpretation
Duo Interpretation
Humorous Interpretation
Declamation (Freshmen and Sophomores only)
Extemporaneous Speaking
Improvisational Duo
Original Oratory
Program Oral Interpretation (POI)
Debate offers:
Congressional Debate
Lincoln Douglas Debate
Public Forum Debate

For more information on what these categories entail, feel free to read through the official 2021-2022 KHSSL handbook.

Tournament Structure:

All potential competitors should keep in mind that tournaments will be virtual (to mitigate COVID-19) until the end of the first semester. However, officers remain hopeful that things could have a brighter outlook for the second. Nevertheless, practices at Lafayette will primarily be in person, with plans to possibly hold in-person “recording days” and award viewing banquets.

Virtual tournaments will consist of students recording and sending a video of them participating in their respective category to judges. If they make it to finals, live finals will be over video chat on tournament days. An awards ceremony will then occur that night, also virtually.

In-person tournaments will occur at different high schools over one day, always on a Saturday. Arden emphasized how community-building was extremely important at these tournaments. Students will get to meet new people on their team and all over the state. They will also get to interact with them through these tournaments. Therefore, having a team that is tightly knit and bonded is of the utmost importance.

Reasons to Participate:

“From my own personal experience and growing with this team from my freshman year,” Arden said, “students become really comfortable in their own skin when they participate in Speech and Debate.”

She elaborated, “Exploring these different things written by other people, exploring different characters, different ways of looking at things, different points of view in one piece has really helped me solidify who I am as a person. Stepping into these different roles has helped me realize what parts of it resonate with me and what parts don’t. Speech and Debate is honestly a really incredible way to do some self-discovery.”

Arden also said that students who participate in Speech and Debate find it beneficial for their research, analysis, time management, and of course, public speaking skills.

“In this world, it’s so important to be able to speak comfortably and eloquently.” She furthered her response by talking about how Speech and Debate can boost confidence because it gives students familiarity with public speaking. This can benefit students from succeeding in a job interview to feeling more comfortable with themselves in basic conversation. “We’ve been stuck behind screens. Everything’s been through an e-mail or Remind message… we haven’t had to just interact with other people.” Arden stated, “Speech and Debate is the perfect environment to re-introduce yourself to that.”

“The times when you’re just sitting there in the hallway and talking to the people on your team. You can genuinely learn so much about a person just by listening to them,”she said, adding how she felt that speech and debate fostered those skills. “We get good at that when we’re at tournaments.”