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Students Learn From The Presidential Debates

October 11, 2012, 5:39 AM by Kellee Azar

Students Learn From The Presidential Debates

While they're not in the national spotlight, some high school students in KELOLAND know all to well the pressures of preparing for a debate.

Public speaking is the number one fear among many people in the world. For many, the thought of getting on stage for a debate in front of the entire country can be nerve racking. Some students in KELOLAND are already getting a head start on a future in public speaking.

Being a part of a varsity debate team in high school teaches students many different skills.  For junior Lydia Simmons, it's given her confidence in more than just debating.

"I've noticed that I am a lot more confident in classes when I am speaking, also, in writing for certain classes like English and writing papers. I also find it easier for me to talk to newer people and talk about a lot of current issues at hand,” Simmons said.

And with the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates this month, Simmons understands what the candidates have to go through.

"It does require quite a bit of effort and quite a bit of preparation. Once you get up there, you're nervous and I can't imagine what the pressure must be with the entire country watching.  We just have usually a judge and your opponent," Simmons said.

As the debate coach at Washington High School, Travis Dahle makes sure to really focus on the preparation aspect of a debate. It's all to make sure students don't get too nervous before a competition.

"Really, we focus on preparing, that you have to study the topic research the topic and start preparing your arguments. So you will want to look at what my opponent will run, what are they thinking, and how would we respond to those arguments," Speech and Debate Coach Travis Dahle said.

While Simmons is not allowed to vote just yet, she still hopes to learn something from this year's national debates.

"They are making a difference.  It's a place where they can cover a lot of the different issues and topics.  But it also shows how they are at speaking and thinking on their feet and being able to answer different questions with very little time to prepare," Simmons said.

Simmons plans to watch Thursday night's Vice Presidential Debate. It will air at 8 p.m. CDT on KELO-TV.


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