A Reflection on the Lobo Howl

Lobo+Howl+participant+prepares+for+speech

Ravyn Cullor

Lobo Howl participant prepares for speech

Ravyn Cullor, Web Editor

In high school, there are so many activities to participate in, but when students engage in activities that require hours of work, preparation, and participation, the question is “why do it?”

The Rocky Forensics team is made up of students participating in one such activity. This January, the team hosted the annual “Lobo Howl”  tournament. The tournament hosts competitors from as far as Nebraska and often sees dozens of schools and hundreds of participants in attendance. The event takes weeks of planning and days of setup in order to be ready for competition, and requires up to 16 hours of work on the day of by RMHS Speech and Debate members.

The event serves as the main fundraiser for the organization, most funds being used to send nationally qualifying speech and debate members to national competitions. “We do take a lot of pride in being able to cover [national qualifiers’] funds so they don’t have to pay,” said coach Gina DeFelice. The team has sent a number of students to participate and rank in national events since DeFelice started coaching in 2015.

Speech and Debate is an activity in which participants must pay to participate in individual events and requires hours of work before events. Each member of a team has different reasons for participating, but ultimately the sentiment is the same. “Speech and Debate is hands down the most beneficial activity you could do in high school,” said RMHS Speech and Debate team captain Bernard Lacey. “The skills that forensics teaches you will benefit you for the rest of your life.” Lacey noted communication, confidence, critical thinking, and persuasion as skills debate participants acquire, and study after study by organizations from the Department of Education to Chicago University have found improvements in GPA and standardized test scores among such students.

Like so many other organizations at Rocky, the Speech and Debate team also works hard to stand out in the community. Events like the “Lobo Howl,” while helping RMHS students compete nationally and outside competitors to build life skills, show unequivocally the place the Pack has in the world around us. Lacey noted that the “Lobo Howl” is, “the primary reason why we are able to be one of the top schools in our district,” saying it keeps the team, “competitive and accessible.” DeFelice emphasized that the event has created a reputation within the debate community, not only between the teams, but the judges as well, for being well organized, hospitable, and on of the largest tournaments in the area.