Thomas Jefferson

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Chicago, Here We Come!

Posted 04/03/2009 by Sam Stavish

Thomas Jefferson Debate Team sends top contenders to nationals in Chicago.

debate_smallOn March 20th and 21st, the Thomas Jefferson High School Debate Team competed in the City Championships for the Denver Urban Debate League. Of the TJ teams representing their school in the art of debate, two managed to proceed to the semi finals: team one, Manal Harim and Trina Fernandez, and team two, Byron Moore and Christian Ulrickson.

“The two teams that made it to the semi-finals earned their position through hard work and determination,” said Debate Team Coach Wauneta Vann.  “Leii Johnson also battled out some difficult debates, but was unable to advance because she debated in a hybrid team,” Vann added.

Moore and Ulrickson won in the semi-finals, advancing to the final round. “I was nervous when we made it to the finals, but Christian does a good job of keeping me focused and prepared,” stated Moore.

They continued their success, winning in the finals, and becoming the first ever Denver Urban Debate League City Champions. TJ finished in 2nd place overall in the team sweepstakes, while Harim, Moore, and Ulrickson all won speaker awards. Byron was also honored with the Maximo Corrada Award for his positive attitude and improvement throughout the debate season. “We did really well, everyone did,” said Ulrickson. “Now we need to get ready for the big time in Chicago.”

Moore and Ulrickson will now travel to Chicago on April 23rd to represent the state of Colorado and the city of Denver in the Urban Debate League Nationals. Preparation for the finals has already begun. “We will be teaming up with West (who is also sending teams to nationals) and learning debate techniques with the assistance of lawyers and businessmen,” said Vann. “We have been meeting every day and working extremely hard, and either way it will be a great learning experience.”

“We need to work out a few kinks, but besides that, we just need to keep practicing until nationals,” declared Ulrickson. The team has been holding lunchtime meetings, as well, to be fully prepared.

Vann, a first-year debate coach, is proud of her team. “Debate is an intense sport,” she said. “I myself am still learning how to teach and coach debate, so all the kids’ success goes to the credit of the students.”