It won’t draw big crowds like the state wrestling or basketball tournaments, but the state debate tournament is inspiring young people to achieve different goals. Craig Ihnen, executive director of the Iowa High School Speech Association, says this weekend’s events in metro Des Moines are drawing some 400 students from 39 Iowa high schools. He says they’re participating in four basic debate areas: policy debates, Lincoln-Douglas, student congress and public forum, all in different styles with emphasis on various elements like persuasion or evidence.
Ihnen says another major high school debate event is scheduled for later this month. The large-group events start in two weeks and involve 26-thousand Iowa students taking part in 16 locations in events ranging from TV broadcasting to mime to one-act plays. Ihnen says taking part in debate competitions can help students grow in a host of ways.
Ihnen says Iowa’s speech tournament focuses on providing an educational foundation for young people to become better speakers, as when they learn to communicate better, they’ll be more successful in whatever careers they choose. The tournament finals are expected to conclude Saturday afternoon on the campus of Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny.