The COVID pandemic has affected schools worldwide, obviously including this school. Many activities, clubs, classes, and other things have had to adapt to the changing situation, with many unsure of their next course of action for the school year.
Debate is one such class. However, the fact that it’s very different from other classes in many ways has made it especially difficult for the debate club to adapt to the new schooling system. Davy Holmes, the coach of the Speech and Debate program, has had quite the experience managing the program in this time. Holmes, like most if not all other teachers, has found it unfortunate that he won’t get to see all of his students for now.
“I know it’s only the beginning of the second week, but I think the biggest downside to teaching online is missing the opportunity to get to know students,” Holmes said. “Some of that is still happening, but it will likely be a slower process this year.”
This had been the case with many teachers. Since the school gave the choice of in-person or online learning, not everyone returned. Nearly 60% of students have chosen to return to school, while the remaining 40% have stayed home. This is especially hard on the debate program, as teamwork and communication is required to prepare students for tournaments, usually by writing speeches and cases.
The most important aspect of debate is tournaments. Nearly every week is another tournament, usually somewhere in Texas. Before the pandemic hit, they were, of course, in-person.
“We normally travel around Austin and San Antonio to attend competitions, but this year students will be competing from home or from empty classrooms at DSHS,” Holmes said.
The pandemic has rendered all current and future tournaments virtual until further notice. As tournaments are the main aspect of debate, this has severely changed how the program is managed and taught. Despite their difficulties, the first three scheduled tournaments went smoothly. I actually got to attend La Vernia (the third tournament) last Saturday. While there, many of the students (including myself) were actually relieved that they got to go from home. While returning to in-person education may be the best outcome in the future, there are ways in which students can adapt to the disruption in many ways, not all specific to debate.
Adapting to this situation has been difficult for everybody, but in the end, students and staff have found so many ways to do that. Debate is a great observation, as it shows that no matter what happens, you can always find a way through.
“I actually feel like I am teaching again,” Holmes said, “even if it is a bit different than in-person.”
By Alec Stuart, News Editor
By Abby Tredway, Staff Writer
Featured photo by Alana Bruni