Article by: Thomas Peery; J-1 correspondent
On Saturday, April 26, Debate teams from around the area competed at Liberty University for the regional Debate championship.
For many years, Latin teacher Michael Compton has led the debate team into many championship rounds, but this year was much better than past years. After advancing through the qualifying rounds, the team was able to join the other debate teams in the championship at Liberty University.
Qualifying as a fourth seed team, the Godwin Debate Team did not appear have much of a chance at the Liberty University championship. Before the finals were six preliminary rounds. Team captains senior Devin Li and sophomore Michael Retchin led the team 4-2 in the preliminary rounds. Other key team member senior Allie Johns was not able to make it to states with Li and Retchin.
With this record, the team was able to advance through the preliminary rounds onto the semi-finals. The GHS team was going against the first seed, Massaponax High School from Fredericksburg VA. In a startling 3-0 victory, the GHS Debate Team advanced on to the final round.
In the final round against John Handley High School from Winchester VA, Li and Retchin took on the school’s top debaters. The final topic to debate was “prioritizing economic development over environmental protection in the best interest of the people of India”.
The nail biting final round ended with two judges giving each school one point, but one judge remained. Our two skilled GHS Debate Team members had fought hard and won the debate in a 2-1 victory.
“It was really stressful. I thought we were going to lose so when we actually won, it was pretty crazy,” said Li.
“I put together a 50 page file and had done a ton of debates and went to nationals, and it feels nice to finally be at the end of the circuit. Hard work really pays off and it was a ton of work, and I wouldn’t have been able to win without Devin and his rhetoric,” said Retchin.
After spending countless hours practicing, the GHS Debate Team has finally won the state championship.