THS speech & debate team!


Sadaf Noori

Tahoma’s speech and debate team is an after school club where students either choose to participate in public forum debate or one of the many speech events. Public Forum is the only debate event offered at Tahoma High School. Debaters receive a current event topic every one to two months, which they then must research and construct arguments for. Debate is a partner activity which is done in pairs, unlike the majority of speech events (excluding duo interpretation).

Speech consists of many different events such as original oratory, extemporaneous speaking, dramatic interpretation, humorous interpretation, impromptu, POI, informative speaking, spar and duo interpretation. Each speech event is different… but in general speech includes a presentation that will be judged during a round of competition. Tournaments are hosted on Fridays and Saturdays. Debate takes place both days with three rounds on Fridays and two on saturday –excluding final rounds. Speech is only on Saturdays, with three rounds.

Recent tournaments include the Tahoma tournament –hosted at the high school– and the Lewis and Clark tournament –in Portland Oregon– where debate captain Lachlan Bailey and honorary captain Jace Simon won first place in open-public forum both times. 

Lachlan Bailey, Tahoma High School’s Debate Captain, joined speech and debate during his Freshman year. Bailey first wanted to join speech and debate because of his brother’s involvement with the club when he was in highschool, but joining has allowed him to meet like-minded individuals. He chose to do debate because he believes speech is not as confrontational compared to debate. Bailey explained “debate is more competitive and driven compared to speech because speech is more about celebrating who’s the best, but in debate it’s more about who is better than who”. In addition Bailey explained that the club helps with confidence and “being confident is one of the best skills that you can have”. 

Tahoma High School’s other debate captain Hewan Berhanu, wanted to join speech and debate  her freshman year but the club seemed like a large time commitment. During sophomore year however, since school was online, Berhanu had more free time and decided to try the club. Berhanu originally joined speech –which she really enjoyed– and that eventually pushed her to try debate. Berhanu explained “Debate allowed me to explore argumentative speaking, and try to understand an issue from both sides, while taking a strong position on either side of the argument.”  Berhanu stated that her favorite part of the club is the people and experiences. 

Similarly, Shrihan Mehrotra, one of Tahoma High School’s speech captains who has been a part of Tahoma’s speech & debate team since his Freshman year originally joined the club because of his sister’s encouragement. Mehrotra’s sister was a former speech captain here at Tahoma High School, and told him that joining would be beneficial, and provide practice with public speaking. His favorite part about speech and competing is “the diverse people that are a part of the club and seeing everyone succeed and do well at tournaments”. 

Tahoma’s speech and debate team is a fun community where everyone is welcome! Meetings are held Tuesdays and Thursdays after school in room 205.