Debate team on road to State


The debate team has had a successful start to the year.

Shaleigh Hebert, Writer

On Sept. 14, the debate team competed in its first Congress Tournament of the year at West Hardin. Junior Matthew Sherwin placed fourth, sophomore Cole Watson placed third, and senior team captain Kiera Figgins placed second. The process of Congressional Debate can be very lengthy. According to Figgins, members competing arrive early and get assigned to a preliminary chamber of about 15 to 20 competitors per chamber to then compete in two four-hour sessions of prelims. The top six from every chamber then advance to finals, which is one room that competes in two four-hour sessions.  

The team prepares for these tournaments in debate classes every day. Figgins said debate is 99 percent research, as long hours are spent prepping cases, blocks, and speeches. 

“As a team we write legislation for congress and share ideas/strategies on topics,” Figgins said. “As the team is currently mostly novice, we spend a lot of time teaching expectations and how to write cases in the future as the team transitions, we will focus more on technical strategies such as under views and spikes.” 

Having dedicated four years to the team already, Figgins is excited about all the new members this year and hopes to develop the novice’s skill and confidence throughout this year and leave behind strong debaters so LCM can continue to provide a debate program for years to come that thrives as much as it has in the past.

“We had a very successful year last year even with being a small team we had the most state qualifying positions out of any team at state we placed second as an overall team by very few points with a team only a fourth of North Lamar’s size my goal is for us to place first in state this year,” Figgins said. “We also broke several school records that I hope continue to be smashed long after I am gone.” 

History teacher Michelle Courmier took on the role of debate coach after previous coach Levi Morris left last year. According to Courmier, when principal Ryan DuBose approached her with the opportunity, she thought it would be a lot of fun and that debate suits her personality in a way.

“[My role is] to help with research, style, and presentation,” Courmier said. “Being so new to this I have a lot to learn, but my role as a coach is to help them prepare to compete and to make sure that they have what they need to compete on the level that I know they can.”

Courmier has goals she hopes to fulfill for the team this year, and for Congress she expects the team to do really well. She is looking forward to seeing what the members can do at the next practice tournament in December, where the whole team will be competing. The team will also compete in November for Congress Regionals. Although Figgins is the only seasoned competitor for Congress this year, she said that Sherwin and Watson are picking things up quickly. 

“Mainly I want them to be able to compete at the academic level that I know they are capable of,” Courmier said. “We have a really strong team this year and several of them should be able to advance to State in their categories, that is what I am hoping for.”

Figgins said Speech and Debate is unique and gives a sense of purpose. She said every case is made to represent something you’re passionate about and it teaches you how to use freedom of speech as a tool to make change in your life. According to Figgins, the debate community is small, yet remarkable.

To hang out and be friends with people you know will soon be the leaders of our politics and law is incomparable to anything else,” Figgins said. “I strongly believe speech and debate is a fundamental tool to shaping the future of our country and I am unbelievably proud to be a part of the community while teaching new members the skills to join.”