Archive for Wednesday, January 29, 2003

THS debaters serve a strong role models

January 29, 2003

Tonganoxie debaters have a long-standing tradition of strong performances -- both during the regular season and in post-season tournaments.

This year, it appears they've outdone themselves.

Last weekend, the four-speaker debate teams went undefeated. In addition, the teams were undefeated at regionals a week earlier.

Tonganoxie's two two-speaker came home with first- and second-place trophies from last weekend's state tournament.

Other debaters also fared well throughout the season and at postseason tournaments -- a testament to the entire program.

The students have burned the midnight oil to get where they are. And they should be proud that they set goals and, through countless hours of practice and collaboration with one another, achieved them.

During the course of their work in debate, they've discovered the benefits of hard work and dedication to a cause. What a positive lesson to learn at a young age.

And while it is the students who put themselves on the line, weekend after weekend, they couldn't do it without outstanding leadership from their coach and his assistant.

Coach Steve Harrell, who is quick to give praise to others, has found a way to motivate these high school students. He and Dave Mitchell, who's worked as Harrell's assistant for four years, found the magic formula for taking talented young people and showing they can have fun by reaching for and touching the stars.

And, obviously, the students have a great deal of respect for their coaches.

"Mr. Harrell's been with us every step," said Megan Needham, one of the four-speaker debate team members.

And isn't that how all great achievements are reached -- through teamwork.

The debate team's formula for success is something everyone can learn from.

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