Debate advances to State


Michelle Courmier

Pictured from left to right are debate team members Sarah Howell, Ace Vandervoort, Cole Watson, and Madison McGuire.

Gabrielle Moore, Writer

The UIL Debate team recently advanced to the State Congress meet in UT Austin, competing against 58 other students from the 4A area. Senior Ace Vandervoort advanced as a competitor, and senior Cole Watson advanced as an alternate. On Jan. 4, Vandervoort competed in Congress.  

“The most challenging part of State is the mental endurance,” Vandervoort said. “Everyone in the room is a great debater, so going against them for six hours was challenging.” 

 According to debate coach Michelle Courmier, managing to advance to state as a team is a huge accomplishment.

“State is always an incredibly stressful but remarkable experience,” Courmier said. “Watching the students compete and seeing all of their hard work pay off is amazing.” 

Vandervoort did not place at the State level, but he said he is still pleased with his accomplishment of competing at the state level. 

“I did not advance to finals,” Vandervoort said. “Although it was not the result I wanted, I am still happy with how it came out because I did my best.” 

According to Courmier, she tries to help the team be confident and prepared while also reassuring them that she is proud. 

“As a coach I try to help my kids be as prepared and confident as possible,” Courmier said. “Mainly I just want them to know that I am there to support them and no matter what I am proud of them. I also remind them to have fun.” 

Courmier said the team has grown and improved significantly over the years. 

“Three years ago we had a team consisting of only two students who had never competed before,” Courmier said. “Each year they add more members to the team and get better. Last year we went to Region in two events, but this year we went to State in all four events.” 

According to Vandervoort, he will miss more than the competition once he graduates. 

“I will miss the competition, but more so the people,” Vandervoort said. “The people on the team feel like family to me. Since I am leaving, I feel as if I am leaving them behind with no guidance.” 

Courmier says that this team is special and having all the seniors leave once they graduate will be difficult. 

“This team and these kids are so special to me,” Courmier said. “We have five seniors leaving this year, and that is going to hit hard. This group of kids is a really weird mix too, so you wouldn’t think they would work as a team. Don’t get me wrong; they have their moments, but for the most part, they work really well together. I love this team and I loved getting the opportunity to work with all of them.”