Competing For Greatness

February 23, 2021


Amy Holland, Speech and Debate Teacher at FGHS

On January 20th-22nd the Fair Grove High School Speech and Debate team competed at Reed Springs Invitational where they placed second out of 23 schools. 

The week prior to this tournament, Fair Grove hosted its own virtual tournament in which twenty one schools from across the state and nationally attended. Due to the pandemic these virtual tournaments consist of competitors sending in recordings of their pieces or they perform over a live stream. The competitors at Fair Grove High prepare diligently for the tournaments. 

Amy Holland, the Speech and Debate coordinator stated, “Students research, read and write in the various genres they are competing in and then memorize and polish their performances.” Whereas Cooper Zumwalt, the Speech and Debate President commented, “Many times, we stay after or come in on mondays to film/prepare [for] our pieces, whereas last year we had more than enough class time to get everything prepared.” Preparing was not only a struggle for the speech team, finding the motivation to strive was also a huge struggle. 

Zumwalt explains, “Having the pressure of performing live helps some of our competitors really dive deep and pull up their raw talent, but since everything has moved virtual, we lost that luxury. However, our program is finally at a place where pieces are solidified and everyone is more than willing to go the extra mile to do well.” As a leader of the program, Zumwalt sought to motivate others by helping them select pieces that were meaningful to them. He says that he is a firm believer that when someone is passionate about their piece and they really get going, they are unstoppable. 

The team’s expectation for this tournament was set super high. Zumwalt said, “We’ve all been working extra hard recently to prepare for upcoming districts, and this tournament was relatively small.” This tournament offered an opportunity for some of the students to try some events that were new or out of their comfort zone. Fair Grove had 12 finalists placed in a wide variety of events that range from academic debate, public speaking events, to acting and interpretation. 

The next time the Fair Grove Speech and Debate team will compete will be the Nixa IE tournament on February 16th-19th. Holland stated, “We always hope to place as a team and individually at every tournament. I am also hoping our team will have students qualify for the state tournament and national tournament.”


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