Debating on Home Turf

Jose Soto – Sugar Beet Staff Reporter

Debate began their season with tournaments last weekend. The tournaments were hosted in Washburn Rural High School in Topeka and Great Bend High School. The debate topic for the year will be education.

“It’s interesting because teachers and students will be debating that topic,” Debate Teacher Russ Tidwell said.

Practice for the team started last Thursday. In the first practice they used the time to get their files on the topic of the year. The following day the team did practice debates to prepare them for the upcoming tournaments.

“In terms of historical success for the team, we had two teams in elimination rounds at the state tournament last year,” said Tidwell “We took two teams to nationals last year. At one point in 2001 or 2002 we were a National School of Excellence in debate” he continued. “Were consistently part of the competitive world of debate in Kansas.”

With the way the debate program runs, there is no varsity, freshman, or JV teams. All students compete together. At tournaments, they have different divisions that places the students in competition with other students at the same level as them. Apart from this weekend, the debate team has to travel to two place mostly every weekend. Next weekend, Garden City will host a novice tournament.

“I’m pretty excited about it because it’s a different kind of form than everyone does and I think it’s really good for young kids to debate that way,” Tidwell said.

The young team is made up of mostly second and third year students with a few seniors in the program. These students have high hopes for the season. Many students have a goal of qualifying for nationals. The main goals for Head Coach Russ Tidwell is to take a full team to state and to help students get better with debating to help them get to the advanced team.

“Our goals don’t really change from year to year. We want to debate as well as we can debate and be competitive in the divisions we compete in,” said Tidwell.

Jose Soto is a trade academy senior. Contact him at


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