Deering High School hosted an all-events speech and debate tournament on Nov. 19 that was very successful, according to teacher Molly Callaghan, who co-coaches Deering’s outstanding Debate Team, along with Krista Simonis. Although the school has hosted tournaments in the past, this year’s Deering High Machigonne Meet was the first for the school since debate contests are back in person this year following the pandemic.
“The debate tournament was a great success,” Callaghan said. “We wound up hosting 88 competitors from 15 schools, including Cape Elizabeth, Bangor, Yarmouth, Poland, and others. We had 39 volunteer judges at the event, one of whom was Deering parent and State Representative Sam Zager.”
After the final round of debate, while competitors were waiting for results to be tabulated, Rep. Zager conducted a Q&A session for the students in the auditorium. “He emphasized the nature of Maine's Legislature as the "people's house," and encouraged all the students to visit the State House and get involved with their government,” Callaghan said. “In fact, the Maine National Speech and Debate Association Congressional Debate Qualifying tournament will be held on January 28 at the State House, so all the students will have the opportunity to participate in congressional debate from the actual State House chambers.”
She said the Deering Debate Team once again put in a strong performance. “Our five public forum teams placed first through fifth in that event, and won the sweepstakes trophy for debate overall. Our congressional debate competitors won second place in the sweepstakes for that event,” Callaghan said. “We heard from Deering team members and visiting competitors alike that they had fun and the event was a success.”
Callaghan said she and Simonis are grateful to everyone who helped the tournament succeed. “We could not have managed this massive event without the help of a number of people, especially booster parents Rita Heimes and Jean Rank, who arranged for all-day food and drinks for all the visitors. Rwanda Bean donated coffee, and BJs donated $100 of merchandise. Deering Key Club members were present throughout the day as student ambassadors and managers of concession sales in the cafeteria. Deering Athletic Director Michael Daly and the Deering custodial team arranged for building access and worked overtime to make sure we had everything we needed.”
They also thanked former Deering Debate Team coach Brian Dodge. “Brian was actually a huge help to me and Krista. He came over and met with us, shared some of his host materials from the past, and was here on Saturday as a volunteer judge,” Callaghan said.