Think Fast. Speak Faster.

Enloe’s Speech & Debate

Dan Harris’s 2017 Speech & Debate follows the lives of three ambitious teenagers who try to revive a defunct eponymous club at their high school to address the repressive policies within their community. Like the three protagonists in this film, Enloe’s own speech and debate club is almost entirely student-driven, separating themselves from nearly any other team in the country.

“Because Enloe doesn’t have any coaches, students often have to provide both roles,” says Eesha Barua, president of the organization. “We’re the only independent team that doesn’t have a coach what-so-ever . . . Enloe doesn’t have certain resources, but we have students that consistently place in tournaments and consistently place in national tournaments.” 

This exemplifies the unique asset Enloe debaters and speakers bring to their organization; student leadership. In private and public schools alike, most speech and debate chapters have their own coaches, namely teachers who are either paid or work pro bono to mentor students in their respective chapters. Schools with more resources can oftentimes afford better, more experienced coaches, and have students who place higher more often in national rankings as a result.

       The club—advised by Ms. Earle—has been around for decades, and has students joining in every year of their high school career. Mirelle Mah’moud is a junior in the organization who competes in informative speech.

“When I first wanted to join I know I really didn’t want to do debate, but I thought speech could be the thing for me since I want to work independently,” she says, reflecting on her introduction into the organization. Despite the anticipation of joining as a new member, Barua convinced her of her own ability and need to compete.

“I remember I wasn’t about to go to my first meet because I was too afraid but Eesha and the speech captain, Tejas, texted me and were like ‘Mirelle you should go, you got this,’ I had a good time.”

Peyton Moore is another junior who participates in speech and debate, specializing in extemporaneous speech (otherwise known as ‘extemp’). Extemp requires competitors to argue three main points within a larger speech regarding a contemporary international issue from which you must cite six sources, or two per point. Moore accredits his time in the organization as prudently expanding his diction and ability to argue intelligently.

If one aspect of Enloe speech and debate is clear, it is that the organization welcomes new members to join at any time in high school. This has been especially emphasized this year with the organization’s new leadership.

Eesha says, “Anyone who has a small marginal interest in debating or speaking, we will welcome you with open arms.”