Moffat County speech and debate team members state their case for others to join the team |

Moffat County speech and debate team members state their case for others to join the team

Sasha Nelson
Research plays a big part in Moffat County speech and debate team members' preparation for competition. Coach Stephanie Everett, right, keeps the team on task. Seated on the right is Jeremy Looper. Also pictured, from left, are Katie Currie, Evan Cramer-Wagner, Gage Rowley, Jessica Johnson and McKenzie Aguirre. Not pictured are team members Nikki Currie and Jacob Briggs.
Sasha Nelson

— There are nine students on the Moffat County High School speech and debate team, and they hope to grow.

“We need more people on the team,” said team member Jeremy Looper.

The team is rebuilding after high turnover of coaches for the past few years, said coach Stephanie Everett, also an MCHS English teacher and yearbook adviser.

The team competed in two novice tournaments and five regular tournaments in the fall and has two more tournaments before heading to regionals in Delta.

“Most of the wins this year have been in individual events,” Everett said.

Meet the team

Katie and Nikki Currie compete together with a dramatic interpretation of the play “Traces of Memory” by Ann Wheeler.

“Our biggest achievement has been understanding,” Katie Currie said. “It is a really hard piece as there isn’t a lot of action, there is more tell. You have to understand the characters on a deeper level to understand what’s going on.”

Looper is competing in mock-congress and hopes that high school congress works better than the United States Congress.

“It seemed interesting because I like politics,” Looper said.

Gage Rowley and Jacob Briggs compete together in Public Forum Debate. Rowley also competes in international extemporaneous speaking, an event that tests competitors’ ability to speak on their feet.

“When you are under a timeframe and given a topic it can be really difficult to talk about. It can really mess with your nerves after awhile,” Rowley said.

Jessica Johnson and McKenzie Aguirre are best friends and compete together with a dramatic interpretation of “Sweeney Todd,” screenplay by John Logan, adaptation by Christopher Bond.

“In our event we are not allowed to touch each other or look at each other. It is very difficult for duo-interpreters to work with a partner and memorize without any other cues,” Aguirre said.

Evan Cramer-Wagner confronts fear as the topic of his informational speech and his original oratory.

“Fear is something we can all relate to and have all experienced and that we have wanted to try and get over. It’s relatable and easy to give a speech on,” Cramer-Wagner said.

Everett is in her first full year of coaching, and she is enjoying introducing the team to new events.

“Being able to explore some of the new events gives them new outlets for their talents,” she said.

Making a case for public speaking

There are many reasons for students to consider competing in public speaking.

“If people are afraid or have social anxiety I would suggest trying this out as it really has helped me overcome social fears that I have had. I’m not so fidgety,” Cramer-Wagner said.

However, fear is not the only factor.

“I think that if anyone is interested in speech it is a lot more than overcoming a fear, it is fun,” Katie Currie said. “You go with people you’re comfortable with and consider more family than a team.”

Students interested in joining the team should speak with Everett.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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