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Speech and Debate Tournament Had Trouble Getting Judges

Shawn Hulen, Reporter
December 9, 2022

     The Speech and Debate team prepared to host their annual tournament Dec. 9 and 10. 


     “It’s a competition where we host 20 to 30 schools,” debate coach Adam Higgins said, “Students debate one another from all over the city and the state, and they perform their speech events with one another.”


     The team’s tournament was vital to the program. 


     “It’s a big fundraiser for our school,” Higgins said. “It also enables us to compete. The money we receive funds our competition season throughout the year. And if no one hosted we would never be able to compete, so it’s the right thing to do.”


     Getting judges for the tournament was an important part of hosting and can be challenging to obtain. 


     “We know how to do everything else,” Higgins said. “The hardest part about hosting, and the most important part is getting lots of judges because then everything can run smoothly.”


     The Speech and Debate team needs over 200 judges each year. 


     “It’s usually around 200 to 300 people that end up coming in and out of the building,” Higgins said. 


     It was largely up to the students to recruit judges. 


     “You need 20 judges to get your grade, which is actually lower than last year,” senior Tochi Ihekona said.


     Some students on the team have people they routinely ask to judge. 


     “I typically contact my old friends who were on the team or I contact people who I think are well equipped for it,” Ihekona said. “My uncle is a lawyer so I typically contact him. Or I’ll contact people who are just interested in watching pieces or judging rounds and are willing to do me a solid.”


     There are only two requirements to be a judge. 


     “Anyone who is 18 or older and out of high school can judge,” Higgins said. 


     Among students, the tournament is a favorite event. 


     “I just love tournament season,” Ihekona said. “It is truly my favorite part about the speech and debate team.”

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