Debate team succeeds in first tournament

Members+of+the+RBHS+debate+team+pile+onto+a+short+bus+Friday%2C+Oct.+19%2C+to+make+the+three+hour+trip+to+Kansas+City+for+their+first+tournament+of+the+year.+Photo+by+Aniqa+Rahman

Members of the RBHS debate team pile onto a short bus Friday, Oct. 19, to make the three hour trip to Kansas City for their first tournament of the year. Photo by Aniqa Rahman

Maria Kalaitzandonakes

Members of the RBHS debate team pile onto a short bus Friday, Oct. 19, to make the three hour trip to Kansas City for their first tournament of the year. Photo by Aniqa Rahman

The debate team drove two hours to Park Hill High School in Kansas City, Mo yesterday, Oct. 19 for their first tournament. Equipped with their boxes of books and papers and their dress clothes, the teams prepared to argue whether or not developed countries have a moral obligation to mitigate climate change. There were 19 other schools in RBHS’ opposition.

Today juniors Sara Ashbaugh and Whitney Cravens won their rounds and broke quarterfinals. Later this evening they will compete again for their spot in the top four teams. The two have been partners for nine tournaments and like working together. Ashbaugh said the hard work preparing for their case has paid off, not only because of their wins, but because the tournament yet again reinforced her love of public speaking and persuasion.

“I love [debate.] When I’m up in front of an audience speaking, I feel empowered,” Ashbaugh said. “Like, the words that I’m saying are important. I feel like I can change their minds.”

Ashbaugh and Cravens were not the only success of the team either. Senior Stephen Turban made it to final rounds for Congress and Michael Hawke reached semi finals in domestic extemporary speaking. Senior Andrew Huchinson, leader of the team, said he is very proud of how they all did.

“It’s really weird being the leader this year,” Hutchinson said. “But it’s really cool to see how much people get into it and enjoy themselves.”

Part of the enthusiasm, Hutchinson said, stems from their new teacher sponsor Kensely.

The team this year had a new leader, Tara Kinsley. Kinsley is an RBHS pop culture teacher. This is her first year teaching debate. Hutchinson said she was exactly what the debate program needed.

“Mrs. Kinsley is a young breath of fresh air,” Hutchinson said. “Her enthusiasm and happy go lucky attitude propels the team.”

Senior Khaymen Hoelscher was new to the debate team this year too. He said although he was underprepared, he learned a lot from his first tournament.

“It was scary and exciting,” Hoelscher said. “I got horribly nervous. I had never done something like this before. It’s not like a class, it’s not just for a grade, it’s to win. It was more nerve wracking.”

Hoelscher said although he didn’t do as well as he had hoped, he was very happy to have the experience, and plans on going to other tournaments in the future.

The team will go to awards at 6 p.m. and find out how their team did. Check back here for updates.

By Maria Kalaitzandonakes 

Juniors Whitney Cravens (left) and Sara Ashbaugh (right) pose with their trophies. Photo provided by the debate team

Updated at 7:06 p.m. juniors Sara Ashbaugh and and Whitney Cravens just won the tournament! Congratulations RBHS debate team.