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The Great Debaters: on the way to state
Poth High School debaters are (from left), Shelby Yanta, Lexi Wauters, Craig Kilgore, Cody Soto, Daniel Soto, and Miguel Gutierrez.
By Kenya Barrientos:
Six debaters and a coach walk into Karnes City High School and ... well, there’s no punch line to this story, but it does end with two teams placing and two seniors going to state in the UIL CX Debate.
Along with Mrs. Caloss, three teams consisting of Daniel Soto, Miguel Gutierrez, Shelby Yanta, and Lexi Wauters (fourth-place team and state alternate), and Craig Kilgore and Cody Soto (second-place team) traveled to Karnes City on Feb. 6 for the district CX Debate meet.
This is a pretty big deal, since a team has not been to state since 2009, so I took the liberty of interviewing three of these great debaters.
What was this year’s topic?
Cody: “Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its transportation infrastructure investment in the United States.”
How does it feel to place?
Lexi: “It feels pretty great, like we actually accomplished something, especially since my partner and I didn’t win a single round last year.”
Craig: “Exciting! It feels good to know all my hard work has paid off.”
Cody: “It feels so rewarding. I am so thankful that I am able to debate with Craig for the past four years because we interact well.”
What is your team doing to prepare?
Craig: “Revising our case and making it solid.”
Cody: “We are going to debate meetings with the La Vernia coach, revising our case to make it solid and untouchable. Also, we’re preparing our negative briefs so we won’t be blindsided.”
How did you feel the moment that you heard that you were moving on to state?
Craig: “Excited and nervous because I knew the competition would be much more difficult.”
Cody: “I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to fall on the floor because it was a long day, but we still had another round so we couldn’t celebrate until afterwards.”
What did you think of your topic?
Lexi: “I thought the topic was okay, but I liked last year’s better. It was more interesting to me because it was about increasing space exploration.”
Craig: “It’s one of the better ones we’ve had throughout the years. We’ve gone from reducing poverty to reducing troops in foreign countries to increasing space exploration.”
Cody: “It’s a great topic! It’s easier to understand than past years, so it makes the arguments so much more interesting.”
What motivated you to keep going for four years?
Craig: “Well, we were going to stop doing it after our sophomore year, but we made it to quarterfinals at district and saw our potential. The exemptions and days off might have had a part in it too.”
Cody: “The motivation that I used was the fact that people believed in us and believed we could do well. Believe and you’re halfway there!”
What are you looking forward to in the next few years?
Lexi: “I am looking forward to the days of school that we will get off at the end of the year and am looking forward to getting better at debate and maybe even going on to State one day, like Cody and Craig are doing.”
Best of luck to Craig and Cody, who are going to compete in Austin March 10-11, and to the other teams. Practice makes perfect!
Junior Journalist Kenya Barrientos is a senior at Poth High School. She is a member of the FCCLA and Book Club and participates in UIL literary criticism, current events, and social studies. The daughter of Carlos and Veronica Barrientos plans to major in journalism after high school.
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