The Kansas State Fair Debates

Written by on August 30, 2019

To some people inherency, solvency, and kritiks seem like words from another language, but not for the KWU debate and forenics team. These are just standard terms used in a debate round. These kind of terms and more can be learned about at the Kansas State Fair debates. The KWU forensics and debate team sponsors the Kansas State Fair debates every year, and it works wonderfully as a recruitment tool for possible future students at KWU. Cassity Morlan, a senior at KWU has been a part of the forensics and debate team for four years and helped out every year. Morlan explains, “The state fair debates offer a way for KWU to put it on student’s radar, so much recruiting happens at debate events, especially the state fair debates.”


Just a few of the many trophies won by members of the KWU Debate and Forensics program over the years.Abby Wray | KWU Student Media

Just a few of the many trophies won by members of the KWU Debate and Forensics program over the years.


So what are the State Fair debates? As explained by Megan Hagaman, the forensics and debate coach at Salina South High School and KWU alum, “The State Fair debates are an educational activity sponsored by KWU Debate and Forensics and hosted at the State Fair in Hutchinson, Kansas each September.  Hundreds of High School debaters, coaches, and community members will gather to watch 3 schools showcase demonstration debates on the 2019-2020 debate topic. This year’s debate topic focus is decreasing US arms sales.” There are traditionally three debates throughout the day- one at 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM, and 1:00 PM. This year Salina South, Maize, and Emporia are the high schools participating. 

But not only are these debates a recruiting tool or an educational tool, the state fair debates also is an opportunity for high school students to win door prizes! The KWU debate team provides a total of 12 winners with prizes ranging from t-shirts and water bottles to the grand prize of a HP laptop. Gary Harmon, the coach at KWU for the past 16 years, explained how important it is for novices and experienced kids alike to be exposed to local debate to help with their flowing and speaking skills.


Just part of the KWU Debate and Forensics trophy case. Abby Wray | KWU Student Media

Just part of the KWU Debate and Forensics trophy case.


These are not the only things people can learn from debate though, Hagaman spoke about how important debate is by saying, “Debate teaches skills that all students need to be successful in life.  They learn extensive communication skills, effective note taking skills, critical thinking skills, organizing skills, collegiality skills, researching skills, and the list goes on and on.  The number one skill employers want in employees is communication, and in a world where we are separated by screens more and more, communication skills are increasingly important.” Anything to increase good communication has to be a pretty sweet deal, and heck if you win a laptop in the process then it is even better. 

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