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Highland Debate Team Heads To State, National Competitions

This year, the Highland High School speech and debate team took first at the district competitions, and now, the team is preparing to go to the state competition and send five of its students to two national competitions.

To raise money, the team stayed up for 24 hours this weekend honing their skills in front of the community.

Tenth grader Christina Mottishaw took the stage Saturday afternoon to deliver her 10-minute individual oratory.

“My speech is about the classic books. I’m trying to persuade you to read more classic books because I think that they’ll alter your life in way that’s much better for yourself,” she said.

It was her friends that pulled her into the club, Mottishaw said.

“I decided I’d try it. And once I tried it, I got hooked,” she said.

Mottishaw is a district champion and she’ll be going with the team to the state competition. She’s nervous and excited, but she’s also supporting her fellow debaters heading to the national Catholic Forensic League and National Forensic League competitions.

“I feel like they work so hard for this position and they definitely deserve where they’re going,” she said.

One of the Highlanders headed to Baltimore to compete nationally is junior Gennavie Judd. She competes in both the Lincoln-Douglas and public forum debate categories.

“I’m learning new information and I’m expanding my abilities and debate will help me in so many different areas in life,” Judd said.

Judd said the competition schedule is intense. The team starts in November, ramping up to weekly competitions in January. And all that practice paid off.

Coach Angela Stephens, who is only in her first year at Highland, said the kids are hungry for it.

“I have the most amazing students at Highland. They’re very, very dedicated. They keep me passionate about teaching and they work so hard,” Stephens said.

The team works as one cohesive unit, Judd said.

“It’s really kind of a level of pride, for Highland in general, but also as a competitor to know that we are a really strong team, we’re more than just a group of kids competing together, we are a family,” Judd said.

The team is still raising funds for the trips to the state and national competitions. Contact Highland High School to donate.

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