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The Muscatine High School Speech and Debate team travelled to Lincoln High School in Des Moines over the weekend to compete at the Lincoln Rail Splitter.

Out of the 25-member team, nine students attended the competition.

The 25-member team is the largest that MHS has had in at least eight years.  MHS graduate and former debater, Davis Schrock, is the coach of the team this year.  Schrock works with the students with the help of his wife, Betsy.

The students attending the Lincoln Rail Splitter competed in several catagories against students from all across the state.

The MHS team had two duos teams, Abby Zoller and Leo Carillo made up the first team, while Wyatt Mason and Jeremiah Danials made up the second team.  Teams participating in the Duo Interpretation present a prepared speech to the judges.  The teams focus on presenting the relationships and interactions between the characters. Presenters do not use props or costumes, instead relying on performance techniques to convey their message.

MHS had two students participate in the Mixed Extemporanious category, where students are required to be able to debate on several topics rather than just one.  MHS’s Jessica Ahluwalia and Liticia Gomez competed in this challenge.  Students compete in a one-on-one format with limited time to prepare for the topic they are to debate. Students present arguments and engage in rebuttals, however, unlike other common debate events, students debate a number of topics as opposed to a single topic for the entire tournament.  In each round, students are presented with a unique resolution. They are given a minimum of thirty minutes to prepare for the round. Students can present evidence for arguments but are not required to since prep time is so limited.

In the category of Dramatic Interpretation, Wyatt Foor, Abby Zoller and Ezekiel Ellis performed for the judges.  Dramatic Interpretation allows students to pick a specific character or piece of literature and present to the judges.  Students are judged on their ability to convey emotion through the piece.  The presentation can be up to 10 minutes in length.  Students have the opportunity to focus on  one main character the entire time or to represent multiple characters and points of view.  This piece is a rehearsed piece.

All members of the team, including Karris Burton,  competed in the Congressional Debate, which is a simulation of the U. S. legislative process in the Senate and the House of Representatives.  The Debaters (referred to as Senators or Representavies) alternate delivering speeches on various topics.  Students are judged on their research, argumentation, and delivery skills in addition to their knowledge and execution of parliamentary procedure.

Any student who has not joined Speech and Debate but is interested is invited to come visit.  It is not too late to join the team though Schorck points out that points are accumulated throughout the season which are used to determine state qualifiers.

Complete results for the MHS Speech and Debate team can be found at voiceofmuscatine.com in the Purple and Gold section.

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