Pritchard Competes Nationally for Debate

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Pritchard Competes Nationally for Debate

Sydney Rose, Staff Reporter

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On a round trip to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, two seats are filled by the Speech and Debate coach, Dylan Moses Bennett and the new team president, Erin Pritchard.

There has only been one other debate team member from Clear Springs that has gone on to compete at the national level, and Erin Pritchard (12) has now joined that short list. Performing a Humorous Interpretation piece, Pritchard won first at the qualifying tournament last school year at Belaire High School, earning a ticket to the elite competition.

“A leap of faith is bold, and that’s exactly what Erin Pritchard did when she explored outside of her Public Forum comfort zone to compete and nationally qualify in HI [Humorous Interpretation] something she had no prior experience in” Moses Bennett said.

It took lots of practice to get where Erin competed, and she practiced nonstop.

“Ms. Bennett, before we left, made me promise I would do my piece whenever she asked, and I didn’t know she meant anywhere at any time,” Pritchard ended up rehearsing in restaurants and even in the middle of the airport. “It definitely did help me get better, and made me not embarrassed or nervous to perform my piece, but it was interesting for sure.”

“It was an honor and rewarding experience to be amongst the best coaches in the nation.” Bennett said. “It really puts the world of Speech and Debate in perspective, like this is what it’s about, this is every student and coach’s goal… to attend NATS.”

Pritchard wants to continue competing in debate through college, and got the chance to speak with some college scouts while on the Florida trip, including some from Simpson University.

The team president isn’t just prominent in the debate scene, but has also worked as the Clear Springs Superintendent Representative all four years she’s attended, and most recently has been added to the CCISD Safety Committee board.

“In middle-school I was told I wouldn’t get anywhere with my loud mouth, to which I responded that I would send that person a letter to tell them what a great debater I am and it’s really funny because I just wrote a college essay about how my speaking has brought me so many places and I just emailed them a copy of that essay.” Pritchard said.

The experience of competing at a national level is rare for Clear Springs students, but there is hope that Coach Bennett will get to go again this year.