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Sequoyah’s Speech and Debate team wins big in September and October

Juniors+Patrick+McKenzie+and+Andrew+Doerr+show+off+their+plaque+at+the+Bruce+Rogers+tournament+at+Houston+County+high+school+on+September+8%2C+2018.+McKenzie+and+Doerr+have+been+on+the+debate+team+for+three+years.
Juniors Patrick McKenzie and Andrew Doerr show off their plaque at the Bruce Rogers tournament at Houston County high school on September 8, 2018. McKenzie and Doerr have been on the debate team for three years.

Juniors Patrick McKenzie and Andrew Doerr show off their plaque at the Bruce Rogers tournament at Houston County high school on September 8, 2018. McKenzie and Doerr have been on the debate team for three years.

Juniors Patrick McKenzie and Andrew Doerr show off their plaque at the Bruce Rogers tournament at Houston County high school on September 8, 2018. McKenzie and Doerr have been on the debate team for three years.

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The Sequoyah Speech and Debate team had great success at the first three tournaments of this year’s season. The entire team won the Sweepstakes award at the Valdosta tournament for having the most wins overall.

Not only has the team had great success together, but Public Forum (PF), Lincoln Douglas (LD), and Speech members have all had success individually. Their competitors have placed at tournaments and won awards for their hard work.

Juniors Patrick McKenzie and Andrew Doerr are competing as partners in Public Forum debate for the third year now. At the Houston County tournament, the two were 5-0, received second place, and got their bid to the varsity state tournament in the spring. The pair went on to attend the Valdosta tournament where they were 4-1, won first place, received another state bid, and won speaker awards. Doerr received fourth place speaker and McKenzie received fifth place speaker.

A great part of their success is the fact that they practice so much every week. The two are very dedicated to their work and the team.

“Patrick and I practice twice a week with the team but we also try to meet up or FaceTime once or twice a week as well,” Doerr said. “Overall we probably spend 6-8 hours a week working on debate.”

McKenzie and Doerr have always been close friends, but debate has brought them closer together since they work together so much. The two are also close with the rest of the team, and they have gotten to bond with them over the past few years.

“Patrick and I were already really good friends before we started debating, but I would say it’s made us grew even closer because it forces us to constantly work together,” Doerr said. “The debate team in general fosters an environment that allows for a true family to materialize.”

Seniors Jack Forbes and Nyla Crayton were also victorious at their last two tournaments. The pair attended the Valdosta tournament, and they were 3-1, got quarterfinalist and won speaker awards. Crayton won first speaker, and Forbes won sixth speaker. The two also competed at Chattahoochee where they were 4-1, received semifinalist, and won speaker awards. Crayton won first place speaker again, and Forbes won fifth place speaker.

Seniors Nyla Crayton and Jack Forbes get ready to attack debate coach Matthew Bartula with their gavels at the Chattahoochee Cougar Classic on September 29, 2018. Crayton and Forbes got their bid to the Varsity State tournament at Chattahoochee.

Forbes and Crayton were not close friends at first. They did not become close friends until halfway through freshman year, and now they are best friends and debate partners. They credit the team for helping them grow closer.

“Now we’re best friends, and we’re debate partners for the first time,” Forbes said.

Mckenzie, Doerr, Forbes, and Crayton have all attended debate camps over the summer in order to improve their researching and speaking skills. Some of the ones they have attended were at Harvard School of Law and Emerson College which are both located in Boston, Massachusetts.

“Patrick and I went to camp for the first time this year and we both thoroughly enjoyed it,” Doerr said. “We learned a lot obviously, but we also met a lot of people who shared a common interest which made the experience really enjoyable.”

Success continues to flourish for the team when it comes to Lincoln Douglas debate. Senior Max Frye is the captain of LD debate, and this is his third year on the team. He attended both the Valdosta tournament, where he went 4-1, and the Chattahoochee tournament, where he went 7-0. At both, he took first place.

“I got first for both of those [Valdosta and Chattahoochee],” Frye said. “I was 7-0 last weekend [Chattahoochee], and the weekend before that I was 4-1 [Valdosta].”

Frye goes to practices two times a week, and in addition to that, he works outside of school to help prepare him for tournaments. Debate has also helped Frye break out of his shell.

“I used to be very apprehensive to speak in front of the class to present or anything like that,” Frye said. “Now that doesn’t bother me at all.”

Senior Evelin Pedro just switched from LD debate to Speech. Pedro wanted to make the switch to Speech and is now competing in Program of Oral Interpretation so she could experience all the Speech and Debate team has to offer. The switch was easy for her since she was already comfortable presenting in front of judges.

“My piece was about being immigrant [and] a child of immigrant parents,” Pedro said. “The reason why I picked this topic was because my parents immigrated from Mexico a year before I was born, and growing up in an immigrant household in a predominantly white community was very hard growing up, not only on myself but my parents as well.”

Pedro got third place at the Valdosta tournament, and she credits part of her success to being in drama.

“Being in drama did help me with speech because since I’ve been in drama since my freshman year I had a better sense in how to characterize and how to able to speak loudly and clearly,” Pedro said.

Overall, the Speech and Debate team has brought home many awards, and they work together to make the team so successful. The Public Forum, Lincoln Douglas, and Speech teams are continuing to prepare for upcoming tournaments, especially the Harvard tournament in February.

The debate team celebrates their victories at the Chattahoochee Cougar Classic. Sequoyah teams won the top awards in Public Forum and Lincoln Douglas.

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