And These Two Are GOOD!
I doubt that he remembers, but I went with Ian Stark to his first junior high UIL meet. I even made a point of sitting down beside him because I was concerned that he was saying absolutely nothing to anyone around him. I could get him to say very little to me either!
Now fast forward six years to March of 2016 when Ian Stark and Kandace Donald are crowned the brand new 3-A Cross X Debate champs, and not only are they the champs, but they have participated in the state debate contest for every single one of their four years in high school. That tells me that besides the obvious talent of the duo, it’s time for debate coach, Lynette Livingston, to ask for a raise! Surely, this chatty young man in front of me (when Kandace would let him chat) could not be that “little boy” who did not speak all those years ago!
So exactly what was the path that the debating duo followed to get to Austin?
LONG. Thirty-nine debates to be exact, and our hometown champs excitedly explained that they won all but three of those debates, BUT…even more impressive is the fact that the year began with over 3,000 debate teams. Gradually, these were weeded out until only 60 found themselves at the state tournament, still tremendous odds, if you ask me.
The state contest is a two-day contest, and to make it to the second day, debaters have to win three of their four preliminary debates. Ian and Kandace won all four of theirs! Then, it was day two, and 16 teams were left standing.
“On the second day, every round is an elimination round,” Ian explained.
Of course, with 16 teams, that meant that there were four rounds to win that day, if the Comanche pair were going to be victorious, and while competitors know the resolution, they do not learn whether they are affirmative or negative until the coin flip that happens just before the contest. Obviously, this means that they must be equally skilled on either side of the debate!
“We really liked our case on the affirmative side of the issue (domestic surveillance),” Kandace bubbled. “It’s very rare to get to go one way every single time, but on the second day, that is exactly what happened to us!”
According to Kandace and Ian, the key to success is current events, current events, current events and a lot of very hard work. They watch the news A LOT, and that paid off because right before they left the hotel to go to the second day of competition, they heard a piece of news that they were able to add as evidence to their argument…and that’s CURRENT!
And since we were all very busy, that ended our conversation except that the duo does not plan for their debating skills to end here. Both have decided that they want to give back to the sport that has done so much for them, and they plan to do that by staying involved in debate…but on the other side of the table as judges!
And here at United, we say WAY TO GO!! Just one more reason for Comanche, Texas to hold its head a little higher!