AES Hosts First Debate Tournament


This past Saturday, Ascension held its first annual debate tournament at the SMP campus. Competing schools from Alexandria and Natchitoches, as well as local schools such as Teurlings and Saint Thomas Moore, all contributed to making this first tournament a successful one.

“It went smoothly, the teams seemed happy, and we seemed to have enough food for everyone,” said speech team member and sophomore Kate Stevens. “The judges were in good moods, and it looked like everyone was enjoying it.”

And who couldn’t enjoy it? Thanks to the generous donations from Sonic, there was a surplus a food still left over for the following Monday. Because of this, even those who forgot to order lagniappe lunch were full and satisfied.

Because of the small size of the main building, only novice Lincoln Douglas and advanced Lincoln Douglas were offered. However, according to the debate coaching staff, Student Congress is a possibility for next year since it could be held in the library. Adding extra events would improve the tournament as a whole because it would give competitors more opportunity to place in multiple events, which could then qualify them to compete at the state level.

Running a tournament for the first time did not come without an adequate amount of manpower though. Along with the help of the whole AES debate team, a few members of NHS volunteered in helping direct competitors to their respective rooms, which added to the efficiency of the tournament.

Outside of school clubs, the debate team also enjoyed a considerable amount of help from Linear Controls, who supplied the trophies, along with Raisin Cane’s of Lafayette for supplying concessions. Moreover, there was a vast amount of volunteers who helped out by judging rounds. So many, in fact, that there were more judges available than what was needed .

Mrs. Nicole Lobello, who is the coach of the speech and debate team, commented on the huge success of the first tournament.

“This is the fourth year AES has had a competitive speech and debate team, and we have grown and achieved many goals along the way; however, taking the step to such a significant ‘next level’ by hosting our own debate tournament is an accomplishment that could only have been achieved with the help of our entire AES community,” said Mrs. Lobello. “As a team, we want to thank everyone who played a part in making this event happen for our school. We have already received overwhelmingly positive feedback regarding the tournament from the students and coaches from all over Louisiana who attended, and we are hopeful to make this academic tournament an AES tradition for years to come. Participation in speech and debate foster public speaking confidence, academic excellence, and diverse socialization opportunities; therefore, we hope more SMP students will consider joining the speech and debate team and seeing how much there is to gain from this creative, challenging, academic sport.”

Needless to say, debaters and Ascension-goers alike really enjoyed this historic event in AES history. It was a great precedent for the years to come, and will hopefully allow others from across the state to see how great our school community truly is.