Speech and Debate Season Winds Down

Story by Isabelle Flood – Staff Reporter

 With the Speech and Debate season winding down, and Rachel Russell’s, Speech and Drama teacher, retirement on more people’s minds, there’s lots to unpack about the current season. Russell has done a lot for the program and is sad to leave it behind.

   “I will miss building relationships with the kids and being in touch with them for years and years after and seeing the great things they do as an adult,” Russell said. 

   Although she is upset about leaving, she has been training a teacher to take over for her when she leaves.

   “I have the gift of being able to pass the program along to one of my former students, Kate Sweeney, she is a wonderful new coach. I am excited to watch her and watch the team and see where they go in the future,” Russell said.

   The teachers and students are excited to see where the team will go in the future but senior officer, Maya Hoffmann, shares her favorite memory with the team.

   “Probably two years ago, whenever we went to the events and practice rounds at Liberty High School, and we all went out to lunch afterward. That was just a great time to have a meal all together and hear stories from our coaches and everybody else,” Hoffmann said. 

   The officers are often seen as the leaders and someone an underclassman can go to for help, or they can look up to as a role model. Both Hoffmann and Cooper Spacil, senior, are officers.

   “Being able to help guide and mentor younger students is something that we all really try and do. It’s something that I take particular pay attention to, specifically just because I enjoy it,” Spacil said. 

   Being in an officer role is a big responsibility and has to be handled with maturity and care. Hoffmann does multiple things to ensure that she is fulfilling her responsibilities as an officer, and helping to the best of her ability. 

   “I’ve filled that role in certain ways by trying to lead the team through different exercises, different practices and mentoring a few other students, and I try to help them out with any kind of support that they need on the team,” Hoffmann said. 

   While mentoring his peers and helping in any way he can, Spacil also has advice for anyone who wants to join Speech and Debate.

   “Even if you don’t want to go out and be a big public speaker, it can help you in your just your day-to-day life. Not only just take notes, but also just get up to speak in class and ask good questions. Becoming an active listener. It really is a good idea to join if you are thinking about it,” Spacil said. 

   The Speech and Debate team has accomplished a lot this season, just finishing districts this past weekend. Lee’s Summit North is well represented in a lot of sports and activities and Speech and Debate is no exception.


Photo courtesy of Ms. Russell – Speech & Debate Coach