Lincoln High School Statesman

I have to say it: Speech and debate are important

Avery Scott practices a speech at LHS on Wednesday.

Avery Scott practices a speech at LHS on Wednesday.

Photo by Katie Osmundson

Photo by Katie Osmundson

Avery Scott practices a speech at LHS on Wednesday.

Katie Osmundson, Staff Writer

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Over 90 percent of the general population dislikes public speaking. They get butterflies, clammy hands and can’t sleep the night before the big presentation. Standing in front of a room full of people instills fear into their hearts. Yet every highschooler is forced to take a speech or debate class in order to graduate. But why?

That is a question speech teachers often hear, because students just don’t get it. Without speech class many students would be sent to college without important skills. Lance DeRoos has been teaching speech at LHS for around 20 years and knows this to be true.

“[Speech class is important] even just in preparing people for college and those going into the business world,” said DeRoos. “That world is still shifting a little bit, but you’re never going to lose that element of interpersonal communication.”

If students find themselves within that 90 percent, do not worry. LHS speech teachers don’t expect them to become a perfect public speaker overnight, they just try their best to help students grow within their comfort zone.

“We ease [students] into the whole process so that they get comfortable and then can communicate,” said DeRoos.

Speech forces students to listen to, understand and respond to other ideas different than their own. The technology that has taken over our world has decreased the value placed on face to face communication, but the importance of true conversation has never wavered. It has only been overshadowed by technology.

“Now that we’re in the digital age, because [of] messaging with texting and the abbreviation of communication, things are very short.” said DeRoos. “The interpersonal communication and the ability to present communication in clear and concise way is really so important. And as we look at how politicians communicate or don’t communicate, it’s even more important to know how that process works and understand what it takes to evaluate information, which makes it a very important class.”

So next time students find themselves dreading a presentation, they need to understand that the process is something that will prepare them not only to get a good grade, but also to gain the skills necessary for their future.

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