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Santa Fe High School’s speech and debate team qualifies for national tournament

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Some teachers don’t always have the chance to see the fruits of their labor, but in this case, the reward was instant.

When Santa Fe High School teacher Chris Salamone started his speech and debate team as a club, he didn’t expect much. Within the club’s first year, though, his students have qualified for a prestigious competition — the National Catholic Forensic League’s Grand National Tournament in Philadelphia, where they’ll be heading in May.

Salamone said his team became more competitive throughout the year and that they are honored to have qualified for this competition.

“As the year progressed, we found that we had a core group of kids who were really into competing,” he said. “They were actually tremendously talented.”

Salamone said his students have really taken this competition to heart. He said they present him with new scripts, new information and new ways of arguing — ideas Salamone said he never thought of before.

“The ultimate success is that they’ve realized this is something they’re really into,” he said. “They’re super self-motivated.”

The speech and debate events range from solo acting events to 45-minute philosophical debates, he said. Students extensively prepare by writing, thinking and planning strategies against their opponents.

Salamone said his students benefit in other academic aspects of their lives because of their involvement in speech and debate.

“The successes they’ve had in here, and just the ability to express themselves, have really allowed them to bloom in other areas,” he said.

The speech and debate team at Santa Fe High School is currently prepping for the tournament while also working to raise money for their trip to Philadelphia.

Rebekah Geier edited this story online.

About Christina DeVarona

Christina is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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