Weather dampens participation in annual high school debate

Weather dampens participation in annual high school debate
(Photo Source: WLOX News)

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - What's usually one of the largest high school speech and debate competitions on the Coast saw low turnout Saturday due to severe winter weather.

"We had to fight for schools to get here. We started with about 22 schools and we're down to 12 because the people from north Mississippi couldn't get here," said Anita Boyd, speech and debate coach at Laurel Christian School, and the judge coordinator for the tournament.

According to Boyd, only about half of the students expected showed up to the annual competition at Pascagoula High School.

"I was suppose to bring about 20. I ended up with eight because we were right in the crossover line of the icing," said Boyd.

Among those eight students was junior Taylor Thompson.

"A lot of my teammates dropped out, but we came the night before," said Taylor. "We've been here since last night, but it's snowing back home."

And while some schools opted out, others from as far away as Starkville trekked to the Coast; dodging the bulk that bad weather.

"It was very, very cold on the way down here," said Oakgrove High School freshman Briah Hargrove. "The only reason that I feel like we really did come down here was our coaches determination for us to be here."

With contests ranging from oratory competition, to prose, as well as policy debates, partner debates, those who made it say it gives them even more motivation to win.

"I feel very confident. If I'm able to over come a small feat now, this shouldn't be problem," said Oakgrove High School sophomore Peter Liang.

Organizers wrapped up the tournament early so teams could head back home before a second round of freezing temperatures.

Since Pascagoula High School hosted the tournament, its students did not compete.

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