The Debate Continues

School, district records set at state contests this month


photo submitted by Angie Richard

Winning several top awards at the Texas Forensic Association State Tournament, junior Skylar Dixon-Englert, junior Ayo Adereti, Coach Angie Richard, Coach Debby Carpenter, senior Jeremiah Williams and senior Marc Wynne display the championship hardware.

Hours of talking to a wall or practicing facials and body language into a mirror has started paying off for the Speech and Debate Teams. This year, the team’s persistence has been rewarded with several outstanding performances and they most recently competed in the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) qualifying tournament from Feb. 28 to March 2, bringing home many awards and championships.

Senior Marc Wynne took home 1st in Humorous Interpretation, becoming the East Texas NSDA District Champion. In addition, senior Jeremiah Williams won 1st in Domestic Extemp, also becoming the East Texas NSDA District Champion. Other award winners were junior Julian Szyszka who won 6th in Lincoln-Douglas Debate and junior Noor Iqbal won 3rd in Oratory. All of these students will go on to compete at the NSDA National tournament in Dallas in June.

“All of the students that went to the tournament are quite accomplished and represented our school so well,” Assistant Coach Debby Carpenter said. “Ultimately three students reached the national finals that will be held in Dallas this summer. Klein Oak has a formidable debate team and is respected in the district and the state.”

The revered team also won Texas-sized awards at the TFA (Texas Forensic Association) state tournament at Alief Taylor High School on March 15 and 16. The team was awarded 1st place in Squad Efficiency. Continuing the winning streak for Oak, junior Ayo Adereti won state champion in Senate Congressional Debate, Williams won 2nd in House Congressional Debate, junior Skylar Dixon-Englert won 10th place in House Congressional Debate and Wynne got 3rd in Humorous Interpretation.

I have a few victories here and there, but never anything major to show for the work I put in.”

— Ayo Adereti

The state championship came as a surprise to Adereti as she has been fighting for the award for a long time.

“It’s really nice [to win] after a year of losing at every tournament,” Adereti said.

Besides being thankful for winning the championship, Adereti said she is also delighted that the hours of effort she has put into the organization is coming to fruition.

“It also definitely feels like the payoff-of-a-life investment because I have been doing Debate since freshman year, and I have a few victories here and there, but never anything major to show for the work I put in,” Adereti said. “It’s nice to have personal validation and outward recognition.”

As the school year begins to wind down, the team members look to advance to the state UIL competition in May and add to the number of students qualified to compete this summer at nationals at the final qualifying meet in April.

For more information on the 2019 National Speech & Debate Association National Tournament, visit