Speech and Debate returns to in-person events

    Nixa Speech and Debate team is back to a more traditional season now that COVID-19 restricts are lifted. 

   In his 5th year of being the head Speech and Debate coach at Nixa High School, Jay Williamson said the traditional Nixa tournament returned on Nov. 13 this year. 

   “Nixa has been hosting a tournament in November for lots of years,” Williamson said. 

   Meghana Nakkanti, a junior at Nixa who has been debating since her freshman year, said it was a significant event.

   “We haven’t been able to run an in-person tournament in two years. This year will be a bit different as it’s speech only, but we’re excited to run a smooth, on time tournament,” Nakkanti said.

   Nakkanti said that the COVID-19 setback last year has left the upperclassmen to advance in what they’re good at. 

   “Because of COVID last year, we had virtual tournaments, and it was hard to stay motivated. Now, with in-person tournaments, we’re able to hone in on our strengths,” Nakkanti said. 

   In each debate season, students get to attend tournaments and discuss one of two pre-selected topics.

    “In September and October, we debated about whether increasing NATO resources in the Baltic region would be good or bad, and now we are debating about whether increased regulation on cryptocurrencies would produce more harm than benefit,” Nakkanti said. 

   Williamson, along with coaches Julie Staats and Todd Mincks, tackles the logistics of bringing a tournament back to Nixa.

   Williamson said that the coaches have to prepare many different aspects- such as gathering judging panels, setting up classrooms, and assigning roles for debate students that help out with logistics before they are ready for Nov. 13.

   “The tournament is a huge undertaking,” Williamson said.

    “We have to figure out concessions, make sure that students know where their rounds are, and that we tally up the scores correctly. We have to make sure that the tournament is running smoothly and that we keep the coaches and the participants happy.”