Debate goes to State


On Jan. 13, sophomore Khanh Dang and senior Chuby Madu represented the school’s debate team in the UIL State Championships which took place at UT Austin and the Texas State Capitol. 

The two students had spent three days in Austin, the majority of their time spent preparing or competing in numerous competitions. Even in moments of downtime, the two made sure they were staying on top of their studying. 

“We had a long ride to Austin and then once we checked in our hotel room, Chuby and I started prepping for our prelim rounds the next day,” Dang said. 

The preliminary debate was the first debate in a series of competitions. It consisted of two rounds that lasted four hours. Even on the day of the competition, Dang and Madu made sure they got some last minute studying in.

“We got to the UT campus early and met up with a few of our debater friends. We all prepped together and discussed the agenda for the rounds,” Dang said. 

After both preliminary rounds, both Dang and Madu found out they broke into the final round of the debate.

“We went to the Texas Capital and debated. Then we did the oath of office and then debated some more,” Dang said. 

Both Dang and Madu agreed that competing at both locations was a fun and exciting experience, as well as a learning opportunity. 

“Competing in debate is super fun and intriguing,” Madu said. “We debated all sorts of topics from necessity for lethal injection sites and the usefulness of reinvesting in homeless shelters.”

Both students felt confident in their abilities and believed they did the best they could in each competition.

“During the whole competition I felt great because it was going well and I was also excited to debate in the Texas Capitol,” Madu said. 

Despite the demanding nature of debate and the limited time provided outside of competition and studying, the two students still managed to find brief moments in between to simply relax and enjoy themselves.

“In between debate rounds and prep sessions, Chuby and I mostly just hung out with all our debate peers or would go get food or hit the gym together,” Dang said. “It’s like our routine to unwind and recharge after a long competition day.”

Their debate teacher, Thomas Mayo, was also really impressed by his students’ abilities that were showcased, and feels a deep sense of pride for how they performed.

“I think they did awesome,” Mayo said. “This was a new experience for both of them, and I’m really proud of both of them for advancing into finals.”

Both of the students both ranked amongst the top ten, with Dang placing ninth and Madu placing fourth. Madu also received the title of presiding officer, a rank awarded to outstanding debaters.

“Just having Chuby get outstanding presiding officer was icing on the cake,” Mayo said. “I expected them to do well, and that’s exactly what they did.”