The Wayland Union High School debate team has experienced a truly unique season adjusting to a 100% virtual competitive season.
The Wayland debaters finished among the top 25 teams in the state, participating in legislative debate; a variation of student congress where they compete with 75+ students from various schools.
Debate coach Andrea Brown said, “Students gain valuable knowledge through research and writing legislation for the docket/topics of debate, they also gain real life experience as they prepare arguments while improving their speaking and listening skills.
“In a traditional year, the team members would travel to a variety of tournaments around the state. This year the team attended a number of tournaments completely virtual; utilizing Zoom and the National Speech and Debate Association platforms.
“At each of the Saturday tournaments our students submitted pieces of legislation to be debated and engaged in three rounds of debate. Wayland debaters rose to the challenge and represented their team and community with pride, bringing home a variety of awards throughout the season.
The culmination of the season is the Michigan Interscholastic Forensics Association (MIFA) State Championship. States celebrates the best of the debating world; MIFA hosted the 104th State Tournament virtually on Saturday, Dec. 12. At States debaters highlight their collaboration, innovation and design thinking in action through multiple rounds of competitive debate.
“It is a huge accomplishment to be ranked in the top 25 in the state,” Brown commented.
The Wayland debaters were Rylie Steuer, Summer Morrison, Carissa Yerxa and Maddy Probst (captain).
“It was an extremely close field, all debaters were within a few points of breaking into the finals,” the coach said.
The highest honor is being ranked in the top ten. Varsity member Eli Merren (Captain) went into the final round and fifth place. The Wayland novice team did outstanding as well, Faith Stid ranked 15th and Sydney VanPopering went to finals and placed ninth.
“I am honored to work with such talented and motivate students,” Brown said. As a team, they are unstoppable even in a pandemic; I can’t wait to see what they do in the future.”