Speech and Debate team qualify for State tournament


Photo courtesy of Paul Jaycox

The Speech and Debate State Qualifying finalists stand in front of the Ladue merchandise store at the State Qualifying tournament. Senior Arjun Suresh and juniors Juli Mejia, Shreya Ramalingam and Samantha Zhang all qualified.

Blake Jaycox, Staff Reporter

Even though they transitioned from virtual tournaments to in-person tournaments at the beginning of 2022, the Lafayette Speech and Debate team has had a great year, with four students qualifying for the State competition.

Speech and Debate is a club that exercises verbal argumentation in a competitive arena.

“It is like any other activity, sport, or commitment that requires you to dedicate a certain amount of time to practice, performance, improvement, those sorts of things,” Speech and Debate head coach Paul Jaycox said.

At the State Qualifying tournament, Suresh was awarded as the International Extemporaneous Speaking (IX) District Champion.

I have been doing [IX] for all four years. So it was good to end with a bang in that respect and have all that work finally pay off. And Jonathan [Ebenezer] was someone that did IX. So it’s good to kind of carry on his legacy,” Suresh said.

IX is a speech category where students are given a choice of three international topics, then get 30 minutes to write and memorize a seven-minute speech about a random international topic.

Because they only know what the topic is going to be thirty minutes before their speech, to prepare for IX, students have to pay attention to things that are happening around the world and are not allowed to use the internet. They can, however, bring in their own materials.

“So what a lot of people will do is download news articles and come in with those and they’ll search through that database that they have made on their own and come up with speeches from that and so they have to pull evidence because it’s not just your own opinion but has to be backed up with facts,” Suresh said.

State is a tournament for the best Speech and Debate students from Missouri, and in the last two years, Lafayette has had no students qualify. This tournament will be held in Springfield, Missouri at Missouri State University.

“It’s definitely new for [the coaches]. For me, I think it’s kind of exciting that we’re all going to go and that there are four people being able to go to the State tournament this year, instead of just one person,” Suresh said. “I really liked how they were all from different events and facets of Speech and Debate.”