Debate Team Competes at Grandview


Photo by Katelyn Finch

Debate sponsor Howard Ritz explains a case file to a student during practice.

Sembree Yeary, Staff Writer

As buses lined the driveway of Grandview High School on Feb.18, students from 48 participating schools trickled off of the bus to enter into the buildings of their competition. Once inside the school, the somber attitude of debaters transitioned into a sense of urgency that would last throughout the day. 

“Go ahead inside and find a table for all of us,” Debate Coach Howard Ritz said. 

While students filled the building, teams scrambled to find where and when they would spend their day at the tournament. The patience of debaters waned as they waited for the tournament workers to post where their first rounds would be. 

The debate team examined competitor schools they would soon compete against in their district meet. The students gathered together to discuss how the day would go and finish their final preparation of arguments on gentrification they would use throughout the day. 

“Are there any arguments about how gentrification affects public schools?” sophomore Kennedy Wright asked. 

When the matches for the first round were posted, students crowded around the paper to find who they would compete against. Each competitor skimmed the list of school codes to find out if they would go against a school in their district. 

By 8 a.m., half the room had cleared out to attend their first round for the day while debaters who still remained waited for the cue to leave for the second flight to begin. 

The rest of the day continued with students filing in and out of the cafeteria. Between rounds, the debate team discussed their experience in rounds with each other or calmed their nerves with light conversation amongst themselves and other schools. 

After the third round, the team anticipated the results of the preliminary rounds to see who would advance to the finals. 

“I am 3-0 for the day,” sophomore Claire Millican said. “I think I will break to out rounds.”

Claire Millican and Sembree Yeary moved on to the octo-finals as the top 16 out of 57 competitors in the tournament with one student placed as second prior to out rounds.