Rockhurst has many activities for students. With the continuous spread of COVID-19 in the community, regulations have made it difficult for club leaders and the moderators to keep these activities relevant at Rockhurst.The Rockhurst debate team led by moderator Mr. Phillip Helt, however, has managed to keep their season alive.
The debate team has participated in quite a few tournaments this season and in a completely new way. Debate member Jude Kilgore said that their new system was “completely virtual now’” using the app tabroom. Although this new format isn’t the most ideal situation for the team, Kilgore believes that they have been able to adjust to their completely virtual situation. When asked what he was doing to ensure the safety of his debate team, Helt said that he is “trying to find ways [to share] that team experience and camaraderie” which is why he has them come to Rockhurst on the weekends for their tournaments. Although he brings all his students together, has them in separate rooms and says they are “following all the Rockhurst safety plans and wearing masks” while at the school on weekends.
Not only have they participated in many tournaments, they are also hosting a few tournaments this season. In fact, the 6th Annual Dan Ramsey Invitational was hosted on the 13th and 14th of November. Schools from all around the Kansas City area participated. “In the past their tournaments have gone very well but this year our playbooks have gone entirely out the window since it’s a virtual online competition.” Helt said. Although the system has changed, Helt believes that this will be a great learning opportunity for his team.
Being one of the most popular clubs at Rockhurst, debate draws in a lot of freshmen to participate in tournaments like the novice tournaments as well as other tournaments. Although they are just novice’s, Kilgore says that “the novice this year have been incredible. They have won a lot of first place finishes in speech and debate events.” In fact, just a few weeks ago, the novice competed in a novice tournament a few weeks ago. The novice team isn’t the only team that has adjusted well to the new system. When asked if there was anything else the varsity needed to do to adjust to its current situation, Kilgore stated that “there was not much more [the varsity team] needed to do to adjust” and that they are “doing very well.”
Rockhurst Speech and Debate is an important part of Rockhurst High School and has taken extra steps to make sure they can succeed and excel this season during these troubling times.