Bangor High Debate Team Show Promise At First In-Person Meet Since The Pandemic
What was supposed to be a rebuilding year, according to Bangor High School's Debate Coach, Matthew Leland, turned out to be a strong first showing by the Bangor High Debate team this week. Bangor came in 2nd overall during the first in-person event, held at Peaks Auditorium, since the Covid-19 Pandemic hit in 2020, and 3rd in the Congressional debates.
The meet consisted of 75 participants from 13 area schools.
According to the Bangor High School website, Leland said "We did very well!... Our team is composed mostly of the younger classes. This was supposed to be a regrowth year, but they have a chance to win it all if they keep working at it.”
This is Bangor High Freshman Brayden Sloan's first year with the team.
"I joined the debate team because it sounded like fun and I like to argue so I thought that I would give it a shot."
Sloan says that he hopes the skills he's learning as part of this team will serve him well in other areas of his life.
"I think that one thing that I have learned from being on the team is how to have more confidence in public speaking and also some great research skills that I have used in my school work as well."
Sloan walked away with a 2nd Place Trophy for the Novice Lincoln Douglas Debate.
"The experience at the first tournament was great, during the time in the cafeteria it did not feel like a competition. People from all the different schools were talking and having a great time and you would have never known that we were from 13 different schools across the state. It was a great experience."
Former Bangor High Ram, now Army reservist, Brennan MacDonald, who honed his own skills while part of Bangor High's Debate Team, said what he took away from his experience has helped him in his professional career, in the 8 years since he graduated.
"Communication is key and a big part of being an army officer. Things that I learned in speech and debate helped me to convey important information to superior officers. Debate is a way to build confidence in speaking and it definitely helped me."
MacDonald, who is back in the area pursuing grad school volunteered his time as a judge during this week's meet.
Reuniting with his old debate coach, current Bangor High History Teacher, Joseph Pelletier, who was also volunteering time as a judge, MacDonald said he hopes the students on this year's debate team are able to make lasting memories as they work on their communication skills.
"It was a great experience to volunteer and give back to my alma mater. My success is due to being a product of the Bangor School Department and growing up in this community. It is a privilege to be able to give back to my school for all that it has given me."
Bangor High School's next debate is a virtual one that will take place this Saturday. Next weekend the team will travel south to Deering High School in Portland another in-person experience.