Debate benefits from new female members


Andy Stubbs

Freshmen Dian Yu and Catherine Lu (pictured center) are two of the 17 freshmen to join this year’s debate team.

Ella Chen, Staff Writer

Out of the 55 students who joined debate at the beginning of the school year, 17 were freshman girls—a stark contrast from previous years, when the debate team was comprised of mostly male upperclassmen.

Although debate receives a substantial amount of newcomers each year, the team leaders were shocked by the unprecedented number of female students who joined the team. For the first time in its history, the debate team is comprised of mostly girls, with a ratio of 30 girls to 55 total members.

Adding to the debate team’s success, nine students have already qualified for the state tournament in March and the Tournament of Champions in Kentucky this spring.

“The team is larger than ever, drawing from a more diverse section of the student body,” debate team sponsor Clay Guinn said. “Students are participating—and winning—in more events than ever before.” 

Many of the freshmen who joined the team found debate as a way to branch out and meet new people. For Dian Yu, debate has taken an impactful role in her life, allowing her to grow and eventually becoming one of her favorite activities.

“It’s one of my passions because it allows you to express and learn so much—not only how to debate, but to be a better person because you learn self-control, and you can build an understanding of everything others have to say, even if you disagree,” Yu said. “There’s a lot of knowledge, research, writing and argumentation skills, and [debate] could help you enliven anything you do.”

For freshman Meeah Bradford, debate has helped her connect with new people that she would have otherwise not met.

“My favorite part about debate is definitely the people that are at every tournament,” Bradford said. “The people are so different. You’ll go to tournaments all across the state and you’ll meet new friends in San Antonio or Austin and keep in touch with them. You end up really building strong relationships even though they’re your competitors.”

According to junior Robert Garza, he and the other four co-captains are looking forward to mentoring the new debaters, and they are eager to see them hone their skills and continue the team’s growth.

“We all have specific roles — if you look at our titles — but when it comes down to the actual class, we really don’t follow them, we’re all about teaching the novices,” Garza said. “We do what we can to give the novices as supportive and useful of an environment as possible.”