UIL Speech and Debate 2019

Madeline Duncan

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This school year, Kingwood High School sent twelve people to UIL debate districts. Of these twelve, seven advanced to region. Xomie Sukach, Braden Hopkins, and Claire Sullivan advanced in informative extemporaneous speaking, Emily Grantham, Leila Saklou, and Darian McCrary advanced in persuasive speaking, and Madeline Duncan advanced in poetry interpretation.

Two policy teams, made up of seniors Kieran Tillis and Jake Blizman, sophomore Braden Hopkins, and junior Shelby Smith, advanced straight from districts to state, taking both first and second place.

To gain insight into UIL competition on the state level, I interviewed sophomore Braden Hopkins on her time competing in policy debate.

“So policy debate is a two person debate, the whole idea is to present plan text on an actual policy that will be voted on (basically by judge) to be enacted into us.”

Before making it to Austin, Braden and her partner Shelby had to advance in UIL districts.

“Districts was on a school night and, we had to debate every team that was there. Policy rounds are about an hour and a half long. It was honestly one of the roughest debate days I had, and it was the first time I’d ever competed in this event. On top of that, I had to go to school the next day as well.”

Despite the challenging experience at districts, Shelby and Braden took second place at districts, earning themselves a spot at UIL State.

“State was at the capitol, at different parts of the UT campus. It was super interesting getting to go against people from different parts of the state, everyone interpreted the event in very different ways.

Braden says she will compete in UIL debate again next year, but might explore events outside of policy.

Though the school year is ending, Kingwood debate is far from wrapping up the season. In July, several students will be attending National Speech and Debate Association Nationals competition in Dallas.