Middle School Speech and Debate Tournament

By Sophie Brown, Reporter

On Tuesday, Nov. 10, six programs competed in a middle school speech and debate tournament, hosted by the Cleveland speech and debate team.

Patrick Gonzales, speech and debate teacher at Cleveland, also coaches the Hosford speech and debate team.They were present at the event, along with Lake Oswego, West Sylvan, Metro East, a group of homeschooled kids, and Clatskanie, which is an hour away.

“We did a small version of the tournament world that we usually do on Saturdays,” said Gonzales.

The middle schoolers competed in dramatic readings, impromptu, (students have to come up with a topic and create a speech on it in a matter of minutes), and debates. There were two divisions, one for sixth graders, and one for seventh/eighth graders. Food and drink was provided for the kids after the tournament, free of charge.

Among the students that helped host the event were seniors Quinn Gonzales and Monica Arnone. Both also help teach middle school speech and debate classes, and participate in the award-winning speech and debate program at Cleveland as well.

Oregon is home to a large high school speech and debate program, but there are very limited opportunities for middle school aged kids wishing to try it out. This was the original inspiration for starting middle school tournaments. The first one was three years ago, a huge success. The speech and debate team plans to host another tournament for the middle school teams in the spring.

“They had a great time.They love the awards they won. Anybody who’s in athletics or speech and debate know the thrill of competition, wins and losses, commiserating the things they could have done better and celebrating what they did well. It’s a little addicting, and I think they caught the bug,” said Gonzales.