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Debate contestant makes regionals

Bryana Smith-Hines, Editor

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Clock is ticking,

Eyes dart back and forth to measure up competition,

Fingernails and pencils are tapping the desk.

The room is quiet, but minds are whirring with ideas.

Then shouts are thrown across the room, hand gestures are being used to prove a point, and there is tension in the air.

“This year Mr. B told me to do Debate since I was really good at academic decathlon,” senior Vanessa Avelar said. “There’s a certain section where you do speech and I always scored pretty high on those.”

Debate was one of the many sections that students competed in at Chapin high school for the University Interscholastic League (UIL) competition.

“Honestly, that was probably the most intimidating thing, because they didn’t talk and didn’t discuss anything with us,” Vanessa said.

Originally Vanessa was supposed to compete in the subjects spelling, editorial, and math. At late notice, UIL journalism coach Ismael Barraza insisted she take on debate.

“She’s really good at quick thinking, on her feet, responds with good arguments, and a good listener,” academic coach Ismael Barraza said.

At first, Vanessa “didn’t do anything” and stayed quiet because there were no instructions on what the contestants had to do.

“Second round I got annihilated, there was a guy who was a lot better than me, because I didn’t know how the times were,” she said.

During the competition, Vanessa was bombarded with questions that she had to quickly argue against.

“She kind of got thrown in the fire pretty quickly, but she did well,” Barraza said.

Walking down the hall after she competed, UIL coach David Seymour patted Vanessa on the shoulder and told her the great news.

“You have a lot of work to do, because you’re going to regionals!” Seymour said.

Vanessa was one of the many students that made it to regionals, and the only one in her category from her school.

“It’s really up to the student to do all the research, and to get the information that they need to win,” Barraza said.

Many of the judges gave Vanessa feedback such as “keeping calm under pressure” and “putting a lot of emotion into the argument”.

Vanessa attended regionals in Lubbock representing the school as a debate contestant.

At the college of Communications Building at Texas Tech, sophomore Clarissa Gonzalez waits to compete in the editorial writing contest.

Vanessa Avelar
At the college of Communications Building at Texas Tech, sophomore Clarissa Gonzalez waits to compete in the editorial writing contest.

Senior Vanessa Avelar walks around the Texas Tech University campus and takes a look at some of the sculptures displayed around next to the student union building.

Clarissa Gonzalez
Senior Vanessa Avelar walks around the Texas Tech University campus and takes a look at some of the sculptures displayed around next to the student union building.

Vanessa sits at the campus of Texas Tech the day after completing her debate contest.

Clarissa Gonzalez
Vanessa sits at the campus of Texas Tech the day after completing her debate contest.

“I’m really determined to do well, now that I know how it goes,” Vanessa said. “I know what to fix on myself, and I’m going to do my best.”

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