The student news site of Great Bend High School

Panther Tales

The student news site of Great Bend High School

Panther Tales

The student news site of Great Bend High School

Panther Tales

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Three Debate Students Head to Nationals!


Last weekend (4/20/24) three of our Debate students were determined to head to nationals: Milena Carbajal and Darcy Feist taking home first place in Duo Interpretation as well as second place in their own solo acts, and Chrisangel Adame qualifying for Senate in Congressional Debate. 

Kim Heath, the lead Debate and Forensics coach, said, “We had fourteen different students competing in the West Kansas District Tournament including five freshmen, but the ones that really stood out that did not make it were Reece King–she is a junior and she is our speaker, she does both persuasive and informative speaking–and Anna Bitter–she does humorous interpretation and program of oral interpretation and she was first alternate in both of those events.”

Just to keep you up to date, the duo had a performance that’s message was up to interpretation, and Adame argued in a mock congressional hearing. Rather cut and dry all things considered, but some half-words and debate-specific slang will be thrown around soon. 

Dan Heath, the assistant coach of the Debate and Forensics team, said, “We won the district qualifier. We scored the most points of any other team there. That was over Garden City, Dodge City, Salina South, Maize, Halstead, and Clay Center; there were some really good teams there, and Great Bend was the winner.”

“And we’re one of, if not the, smallest district,” Dan continued. “But we do well every year… It is so weird, because there are some kids that are very very good that never get to go, they never qualify. And then we have kids that qualify a lot. Last year, we had Quinton Heath qualify as a freshman. Darcy Feist is a junior this year, she qualified both as a freshman and as a sophomore.”

Halfway through June later this year, our team will be heading to Des Moines, Iowa to compete, and hopefully go as far as their writing and passion permits. Thousands of students will come to compete, and the top six will each perform on a live stage in front of an equally-large audience before being ranked. 

This means Debate season is soon to end, with some of the last tournaments being held in May. 

Kim Heath continued “We are currently, as the season comes to a close for many of (the students), looking for activities to do next year and trying to brainstorm areas. So really there’s no beginning or end, it’s just kind of a process.”

However, during your tenure as a Great Bend High School student, you might have noticed how far our debate students go despite coming from such a small school, lacking the mathematical advantage. 

Dan Heath continued, “We have a very solid program. I think that there’s just a culture. There are some teams in any activity that just have a winning culture, and everybody knows that if you are a part of this you are going to do the work it takes to be successful.”

“It’s an activity like anything else, some people have more natural talent at it than others, but it’s the ones that are willing to put in the extra work that usually are super successful.” 

Kim Heath commented, “The (students) that are super successful are continuously setting goals for themselves to improve in all areas, they’ll respond from the feedback from their coaches and from the judges on the ballot and evaluate what is useful and what is not to create a story that is theirs to tell, and always just working to get better.”


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