The Ball Street Journal

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The Ball Street Journal

The Ball Street Journal

Tors Place in Every Contest

Tors+Place+in+Every+Contest

The Ball High Speech and Debate Team never fails to impress. Mr. Merritte, a 1972 BHS Speech Team member and grad, who has been a dedicated teacher and coach to Balli since 1982, arrived bright and early at 5:30 a.m., ensuring everything was in order. The team, fueled by donuts and kolaches generously provided by Mr. Merritte, departed from the bus zone at 5:45 AM on Saturday morning.

Ball High’s Speech and Debate team arrived at 7 a.m., eager and well-fed. Ian Endsley, Karina Pedroza, Sean Clark, Vincent Barber, and me, Luke Perez, were busy rehearsing speeches and debates. Vincent Barber, participating in Impromptu for the first time, breezed through the competition without breaking a sweat.

As the day progressed, we gathered at Kerr High School’s lunchroom, discussing our rounds. Vincent left early, while Karina missed Prose, (short story) Interpretation to cheer Vincent on during his impromptu speaking. As midday approached, it was my turn. I entered the Congressional Debate chamber and tackled the topic of establishing a military base on Taiwan due to China’s security threat. Despite facing strong opposition, I defended my stance with conviction, backed by statistics and oratorical skills, leaving other debaters questioning their arguments.

In the preliminary round of debate, I felt confident that I would make Ball High proud, and indeed, I was selected as one of the few finalists to receive an award. Ian Endsley secured 2nd place in impromptu speaking. Coach Merritte was extremely impressed by Ian as this was his first award in competitive speaking. He stayed with the program through the COVID years, and Merritte’s two-year retirement. Karina Pedroza claimed 3rd in Prose Interpretation, while two-year letterman Sean Clark also and I made it to the finals in Impromptu Speaking winning 4th place overall.

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What made the Kerr tournament so TOR-RIF-Fic according to a proud Mr. Merritte is that all six of Ball High´s competitors advanced to the Finals and or Semi-Finals. Afterward, we celebrated at Chick-Fil-A, where Mr. Merritte graciously treated three students and the bus driver to dinner. At 9 p.m., we returned to school, where Mr. Merritte ensured two debaters made it home safely.

Through speech and debate, we humbly exemplify what Ball High scholars and represents. Most importantly, we demonstrate the power of being Ball High proud and our collective team effort; our determination to win.

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