Speech and Debate club


Alexis Farmer

The Speech and Debate Club

Alexis Farmer, Journalist


Shadow Ridge has an interesting club called the Speech and Debate club. It’s a group for people who want to express themselves, communicate, and participate in informative speaking. The club does not require experience and is available for anyone to join. Speech and debate can help improve communication skills and is also for people who like public speaking. It’s also a good opportunity for people who want to try something new or get out of their comfort zone.

Club advisor and coach, Dr. Baaske, says, “I wanted high school students to learn the art of public speaking and communication, I wanted to create a team, I want them to be good consumers of information when they are adults and go out into the world.”

Baaske started the team in 2020 during the pandemic. She wanted to help students who lost their communication skills over the pandemic gain them back. The club was created when everything was online with a student named Joshua Sicklesteel. He is currently the president of the club. 

Club members preparing for competition. (Alexis Farmer)

“I’ve always been shy and had stage fright and I thought of speech debate as an opportunity to learn how to get over that fear and to help me communicate and socialize with other people and students,”  Joshua Sicklesteel, junior, states.  “Not just one-to-one, but also with larger groups of people and without empty feelings or thoughts of messing up, and the club will help me get over that. And to also improve my social skills.”

In 2021, Baaske and the rest of the club made Shadow Ridge’s first competition appearance. In the club, there are twelve to fifteen students competing. When Baaske was hired by Shadow Ridge, she was told there was no team and set a goal to create and coach a team for Shadow Ridge. 

The competitive speech events that students can participate in are Original Oratory, Duo Interpretation, and Extemporaneous Speaking. The debate events include Congressional Debate, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, and Public Forum. The club competes at least once a month in tournaments against other schools in and out of the district. The club is part of the National Speech and Debate Association.