An Inside Look Into Speech and Debate

What happens when people mix important topics, determined students, and having fun all in one?


Members of the Speech and Debate team are shown standing together and smiling during a competition.

Air Academy High School’s Speech and Debate program is highly respectable. It’s a competitive environment where students can compete in tournaments all across Colorado using their skills in acting, public speaking, and debate. Most tournaments are held on Saturdays at select high schools and meetings are held on Mondays and Wednesdays after school in the Media Center. The team practices once a month on Thursdays and competes after school. 


Speech and Debate is an academic activity that has some similarities to sports, but there are multiple noticeable differences as well. It allows students to be competitive by using their words rather than their actions. 


“[It] allows [students] an opportunity to speak about current and passionate issues,” sophomore Savannah Mathers stated. 


Like student-athletes, students involved in speech and debate attend practices with coaches who help them evolve their skills to not only benefit the team, but to benefit themselves as well.


“It gives me a platform to speak on issues that are important to me and it helps me keep up on current events,” junior Ella McCauley explained.


Shown are members of the speech and debate team (including sophomore Savannah Mathers, sophomore Izzy Valentine, and sophomore Delany Brandt) sitting in an auditorium together.

One thing that students can benefit from if they are thinking about joining speech and debate is to attend meetings. Practices and meetings help prepare students for what tournaments have in store for them. 


“Speech and debate people separate into their respective groups and practice with each other,” sophomore Patrick Naughton described. 


Helping students prepare for tournaments is a very important task to take on. It takes a lot of time and effort to develop a game plan of what a student is going to do and say. This all starts with a person who can guide the students in the right direction.


Renee Motter is the sponsor of the Speech and Debate club/team at AAHS. Motter has dedicated a lot of time to ensure that the students she is helping succeed and thrive.


“Ms. Motter has been an incredible speech and debate coach for over 20 years who provides constructive criticism, uplifting encouragement, and accurate information,” Mathers added.


Students appreciate having someone that they know supports them and is always there to help them.


“Ms. Motter and our other coach Mrs. Botsford are our biggest cheerleaders at tournaments,” McCauley expressed. 


Shown are members of the speech and debate team (including sophomore Dominik Goodman, senior Nathalie Rogers, sophomore Izzy Valentine, and sophomore Delaney Brandt) holding up their respective awards for the competition.

Over the past several years, AAHS’s speech and debate club/team has accomplished several things. Multiple students have had the opportunity to compete at a national level against a lot of different students with a lot of different backgrounds. 


Being involved with speech and debate can give students a plethora of opportunities like meeting new people, growing in social skills, and most of all having fun.


“The people involved are also great people and I love doing speech and debate with them,” Naughton said.


Developing these lifelong skills and memories help students not only now, but in the future as well. 


“[Speech and debate] is also just a fun activity overall,” Naughton continued.


The speech and debate club is always looking for new members and it’s not too late to join! Students can meet new people, learn new things, and gain a new perspective on life. 


Students who are looking to improve their communication skills, find people who have the same interests as they do, and find a new hobby can take the opportunity to take part in a meeting or two.


“Students should join speech and debate because, to be honest, it looks really good on college and future profession applications,” Mathers noted.


For anyone who has any questions about the speech and debate club, feel free to reach out to Motter for more information.