180 days of learning

180 days of learning

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The Road Less Traveled

September 21, 2012

Robert Frost once said, “I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”  When I walked into high school my first day of freshman year I was thrown into a world of possibilities. There are so many activities you can get involved in that it’s almost overwhelming! Most people join sports teams or band or language clubs but I chose to do something else. I chose to take the road less traveled and for me, it truly has made an amazing difference in my life. I chose speech and debate.

Many people laugh when I say I’m on the debate team or the speech team.They think I’m absolutely crazy for giving up my Saturdays from October to March.  They assume the activity is just like speech class and all that I do is stand at the front of the room trying to give a persuasive speech. They don’t realize that it’s so much more. They don’t understand the bond that our team has or the many memories I have gained as a result of local, state, and national tournaments.People don’t realize the hours that go into preparing for tournaments and the lifelong benefits that come from this amazing activity.

When I was asked to write this post I was told to write about what I learned in one day but that was absolutely impossible for me because speech and debate has given me so many amazing things. Speech and debate hasn’t taught me one single skill on a specific day.Because of speech and debate I have  acquired confidence and improved my speaking skills. Speech and debate has given me the opportunity to attend five different national tournaments in five different states and gain friends all over the United States.  I have had the privilege to speak to numerous groups because of speech. I’ve become a part of the National Forensic League, the oldest honor society in the United States. It can be a lot of work if you want to excel but all of the hard work becomes so worth it when you are a finalist at state and receive a trophy or finally nail that skill that you have been working so hard.

One of the neatest things to me is the way speech and debate has changed over the six seasons that I have participated in. I’ve had the opportunity to participate with a variety of teammates, the coaching staff has grown and changed, and new technology has been incorporated into the competitions. For example, in several of the events I compete in it is necessary to have files with information that can be referenced during tournaments. Previously we had to haul huge black tubs around with hundreds of paper magazine articles filed into different categories. Now, thanks to the Plymouth High School 1:1 program, we are able to file all of the magazines electronically into a program called Dropbox and all we carry are our MacBooks. It makes it faster to find and file information, giving us a competitive edge at tournaments.

Things may have changed over the years but the one thing that has not changed is my passion for speech and debate. I’m not sure I will ever be able to truly explain what speech and debate has done for me. I’ve grown as a teammate, a competitor, and as a person throughout my years of participation and will forever be grateful that I chose to get involved in such an amazing activity. It has given me confidence, improved communication skills, lifelong friends, and many amazing memories. Unless someone has participated in speech and debate or observed a tournament I’m not sure they’d ever really understand how amazing speech really is. I am so thankful that I chose the “road less traveled” because for me, it truly has made all of the difference.

Michaila is a senior at Plymouth High School this year. She is co-captain of the speech and debate team and a four year team member. Next year she hopes to attend college and pursue a degree in political science before going on to earn her law degree and becoming a lawyer. 

Michaila Nate and Pauline Dagaas are the 2012-2013 co-captains of the speech and debate team.

PHS Speech and Debate has a long history of success at local, state and national tournaments. Shown here are the 2010-2011 national qualifiers. From left to right they are: Jason Pickell, Sean Hatfield, Michaila Nate, Bryt Hiatt, and Patrick Felke.

2011-2012 PHS Speech Team at the state tournament


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Great job! You are an inspiration to many others. Your experiences in this program will definitely serve you well in your future endeavors.

Melinda Satorius

September 26, 2012

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