The Saratoga Sun -

Togie talk jocks zoom to State

Using videoconferencing technology, Saratoga speech and debate team able to finish their season


It has often been said that necessity is the mother of invention. That quote has been used extensively in recent weeks as schools, businesses and local governments have found ways to adapt to the changes brought on by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). While activities such as track and field were cancelled and the 3A/4A State Basketball Tournament ended abruptly, the State Speech and Debate Tournament found a way to continue.

From April 22 to April 25, speech and debate competitors gave their performances and arguments to judges via video conference software. Of the four member Saratoga team, three of the lady talk jocks competed and were able to get some placings.

“We had three of the girls compete in the events of Poetry, POI (Programmed Oral Interpretation), Humor, Extemporaneous and Lincoln-Douglas. All three competed in two events each,” said Sheryl Hunter, head coach for speech and debate. “The memorized events of Poetry, POI and Humor were pre-recorded and submitted to be used for each round of judging. Extemporaneous and Lincoln-Douglas were live events that took place over the University of Wyoming’s secure Zoom platform.”

Hunter added that, while the Togie Talk Jocks would have preferred to compete in person, they were grateful that the Wyoming High School Athletics Association sanctioned the event. She also thanks Matt Lui, the University of Wyoming Debate Team and the University of Wyoming for their help providing an opportunity for the students to finish the season.

“I am extremely grateful that I was able to participate in the state tournament this year,” said Kaitlyn Campbell. “I didn’t know if I would have the opportunity after it was cancelled, so I am very happy that I was able to do it online. I think I still prefer normal speech meets. A huge part of speech and debate for me is the social interaction; meeting new people  and having fun with the competition. With the way it was set up, the social aspect just didn’t happen. It also felt more casual in a way. GIving a speech in your house is not the same as giving a speech in a school three hours away.”

Saratoga earned 4th place in the 1A/2A Sweepstakes as a team. Jaden Campbell was awarded 3rd place in 1A/2A All-State Honors for Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Senior Kaylyn Hunter had advanced to semi-finals in POI and was awarded 1st Place 1A/2A All-State Honors in the event.


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