Bradwell Institute’s speech and debate program is giving students the opportunity to raise their voices and speak their minds about public issues that affect society.
BI launched the program last year, and in October, a team began traveling around the state to compete in tournaments against private schools, magnet schools, academies and other public schools.
The speech and debate program no longer falls under the Georgia High School Association as it once did. It now is part of the National Forensics League, which allows students to compete in various categories.
In addition to the traditional Lincoln-Douglas, public forum and policy debate formats, students also participate in such events as original oratory, dramatic interpretation, humorous interpretation, poetry, prose reading, storytelling and impromptu speaking.
While Bradwell’s speech and debate team still is growing, students already have had solid showings in several events.
So far the two public forum teams, consisting of Braylon Hyde/William Bell and Ayonna James/Sideeq Heard, have gone 13-3 after traveling to Chattahoochee High School for the Cougar Classic Debate Tournament and then Carrollton High School for the Peach State Classic Debate Tournament.
All four debaters placed in the top 10 speakers at the Cougar Classic, and Heard ranked in the top five at the Peach State Classic.
In public forum, two students have ranked in the top 10: Kirstin Neighoff at Chattahoochee and Miriam Madison at the Peach State Classic.
Tahlia Ashwood and Ja’Kita Crawford both have ranked in the top 10 for original oratory.
Students from Bradwell Institute also have competed in dramatic interpretation and poetry/prose.
The team is preparing for its next tournament. For practice, the students will participate in a community debate from 6-8 p.m. Jan. 12 at the Bradwell Institute gymnasium.
The event will help raise funds to cover the costs of the tournament. While there is no cost for admission to the debate, the team will sell concessions and accept donations at the door.
For more information about the debate team or to support the participants, email team sponsor Thomas Thornton at firstname.lastname@example.org or BIDebate@yahoo.com.