The Voice of Conway High School

Wampus Cat Student News

The Voice of Conway High School

Wampus Cat Student News

The Voice of Conway High School

Wampus Cat Student News

Not Up for Debate!

Students+on+the+debate+team+take+the+oath+of+office+at+Arkansas+Student+Congress
Students on the debate team take the oath of office at Arkansas Student Congress

The Conway Forensics and Debate team is rocking the Arkansas Speech and Debate circuit. The team began around ten years ago at Conway High when, teacher, Casey Griffith began the program after teaching Oral Communications at the University of Central Arkansas and coming to Conway High School to teach the class at our school. She began the team to give students at Conway a chance to build their public speaking as well as performance skills to prepare them for their future careers in fields such as politics and acting.

Currently, the forensics and debate team has over fifty members and hopes to continue to grow in the future. The program began with a small group of students and has significantly grown as opportunities have expanded. A recent development to the speech and debate team is the addition of the mock trial team- a team who consists of mock attorneys and witnesses as they compete against other teams in faux trials. The mock trial team currently has eight members: captain- Avery Ferguson, Natalie Hood, Caley Miller, Daniel Taft, Cole Britt, Mustfa Zia, Wren Whelky, and Addison Choate. Ferguson, Hood, Miller, and Taft are all members of the varsity debate team and have been competing in debate competitions for three years and mock trial for two. Mock trial is an amazing opportunity for students to learn the skills necessary to have a career in law in the future. Hood said, “I never imagined I’d be in mock trial, but I have made great friends in the program. I’ve also developed public speaking skills.”

Speech and debate has become a crucial part of many student’s lives. Sophomores Zia, Whelky, Britt, and Choate often jokingly repeat, “Mock trial is love; mock trial is life,” due to the heavy commitment the program requires. Mock trial practice is on Wednesdays from three to seven and on Sunday from one to seven. However, the member’s intense commitment has paid off. For the past two years the Conway High School Mock Trial Team has won the Arkansas Mock Trial State Championship, and the year before they were runner up state champions.

In addition to mock trial, students on the speech and debate team participate in events such as Congressional Debate, modeled after the United States House of Representatives and Senate, as well as Lincoln Douglas debate- named after the famous series of debate between Abraham Lincoln and Steven Douglas in 1858, where students debate both morality and policy issues. National competitor, a senior at Conway High School, Mary Caroline Grimes, stated, “Lincoln Douglas debate combines extemporaneous speaking with prepared debate, and it is definitely my favorite style because of how tense the debate rounds tend to get.”
Regardless of the event student’s choose to participate in, speech and debate helps develop crucial skills to aid students in the future. Most positions require a form of public speaking, and this program is giving them a runway to lift off of in the future. Giving student’s the opportunity to compete in speech and debate is changing lives at Conway High.

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About the Contributor
Avery Ferguson, Copy Editor
Avery is a senior at Conway High School. This is her third year on the journalism staff and second year as Copy Editor. She loves reading, learning, and spending time outside.

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