Robert Ross, 17, didn’t plan on participating in speech and debate. Through his sophomore year at Flathead High School, Ross had focused on basketball and cross country. But after missing basketball tryouts his junior year, Ross was urged by his teachers to try out.
“It was more of a forceful ‘You’re going to a debate tournament,’” Ross said. “I was horrified the first two days because of all the information.”
Ross had two days to learn more than a month’s worth of speech and debate knowledge before his tournament, competing in policy debate.
In his senior year, Ross has made the switch from policy to legislative, and will compete in that section at the state tournament later this month.
“I’m still trying to get used to it,” he said. “Policy is batter and attack while legislative is elegant and persuasive.”
The experience of debating has influenced Ross as a person. Becoming comfortable speaking in front of people and the search for understanding and knowledge are lessons that Ross says he will carry through life.
“To have a good debate or discussion, you gain something from it,” he said. “It’s one of the greatest feelings you can have, coming out with more knowledge. It helps me personally to see all sides.”
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.