The Speech and Debate Club Continues to Grow

By Grace Kenney, Layout Editor

In its second year, the Speech and Debate club, co-founded by juniors Hannah Reynolds and Abigail Devine, has continued to grow with the addition of nine new members and participation in local tournaments.  

On Feb. 3, freshmen Jackie Chafart, Anna Ferrigine, Faith King, Caitlin Ramos and Gabriella Sorrentino, sophomores Caroline Meany and Grace Shimkus, and juniors Madison Huber and Hannah Reynolds participated in the New Jersey Speech and Debate League at Freehold Township High School under faculty advisors Dana Cain, Jen Jamer and Melissa Whelan.

Meany and Reynolds competed in the JV Public Forum branch of the Speech and Debate League, where they argued both the affirmative and negative positions, as the team does not know which side they must debate prior to the competition. The girls held their own against ten other high school teams.  


Sophomore Grace S. earned sixth place in the Original Oratory competition at the New Jersey Speech and Debate League at Freehold Township High School on Feb. 3. (Photo courtesy of Melissa Whelan)

The respective teams of Sorrentino and Ramos, and Chafart and Ferrigine competed in the Novice Public Forum branch of debate. To prepare for the debate on whether or not the U.S. Capital Gains Tax should be abolished, all of the debate partners researched the issue while developing cogent rebuttals and debating during the club lunch meetings for practice.


In addition to the debate aspect of the competition, Huber and Shimkus participated in the Original Oratory section of the Speech and Debate League, where they each delivered ten-minute speeches from memory on a topic of their choice.  The students used the advice and ideas they received while practicing their speeches with other teammates and teachers at Trinity Hall to enhance their speeches for their final oration. Relying mainly upon emotional appeal and logical reasoning to develop her argument, Shimkus earned sixth place overall by discussing how failure shapes life.

“It was exciting to connect with the room based on a topic that I not only related to but also everyone in the room,” said Shimkus.

Additionally, King participated in the Dramatic Interpretation branch where she presented lines from Anna Kendrick’s book, Scrappy Little Nobody.

In the team’s second year of competing, the participants made strong impressions. While some girls have had experience competing, it was the first tournament for many; yet, the style and depth of schoolwork at Trinity Hall seemed to prepare students regardless of their experience. “The critical-thinking, cooperative projects and presentations integrated into the everyday classes put our students at an advantage,” said Whelan.

The team hopes that as it becomes more competitive in tournaments it can also become more approachable to those who are looking for the club to be a learning experience at Trinity Hall.

“Next year, we hope to continue to compete in more tournaments as well as have team wide debates. By having debates within the team, everyone can participate even if they aren’t able to attend a real tournament,” said Reynolds.

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