Madyson Traudt walks quickly through the halls, her heels clicking with every step. Her partner and her pick up the pace, handling piles of papers in their hands, rushing to their next round of debate. After the last round, Traudt returns to the teams table, grabs her speech and begins to practice here, pacing around and speaking to the walls and chairs, perfecting her pace and pronunciation before the speech rounds, all while attempting to snack quickly before she must perform.
Debate is certainly not for the faint-hearted. It requires lots of discipline to prepare, intense courage, and willingness to go in front of strangers who will judge from speech content to posture and confidence. In this current season, there has been a wave of new debaters, all of varying backgrounds and strengths.
“Debate is something that requires a genuine interest and passion as well as a large amount of motivation and great work ethic.” said junior Madyson Traudt. “You have to be willing to do all the prep and then some to succeed at the activity and not everyone is willing to endure that rigor.”
On average, Traudt accounts for at least 1-2 hours a night of research in the upcoming week to a meet, outside of class. Along with that, she is subscribed to several news outlets, such as CNN, Washington Post, and The New York Times, receiving updates on current events as soon as she can read them. Subscribing to these journals and papers can be expensive, as some of them range from $10 a week at The New York Times, and $199 for the year with The Wall Street Journal.
Traudt in particular, has done exceptionally well her first year debating in southeast Alaska, having won her first final debate by a 3-0 decision in November with partner Audrey Kistler. She’s not unfamiliar with debate though, as she has debated before in Oregon, scoring high marks in several events as a freshman and sophomore.
Along with having a impressive debate record 18-22 for the season, only losing 4 debates throughout the entire season, she is active in SBA, Ketchikan Youth Court, which all help in one aspect or another with her debating skills. As a junior, she juggles a full class load as well, keeping up her reputation as a straight A student, along with being one of the students in charge of GSA. Her time in debate has been an extreme benefit to her and her progress in school.
“Debating in southeast has helped me to gain a lot of confidence, meet a lot of new people and overall become a better speaker as well as a better debater” said Traudt. “Going into this next meet, although carrying the usual stress and anxiety that comes a week before hand, I feel great and I’m excited to debate. It’s a rewarding activity that I love to do and I’m glad I have a portion of my high school career to do it.”
She tends to dedicate her spare time in between classes reading articles, and spending some of her lunches researching in the library, among the buzz and usual chatter that lunch brings in Kayhi. With joining debate, she has become considerably more competitive and increasingly more interested in pursuing a career path in the avenue of politics.
“I am currently split between two opposite career fields. As long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a doctor, as I got into highschool I began to lean towards cardiothoracic surgery.” said Traudt. “More recently, largely due to debate, I have also began to consider law school and/or political science, ultimately my dream would be to work in the White House if I took this path.”
Her interests in politics has grown even more with participating in debate, as she is beginning to research more and more degrees and scholarships to help with her possible career choice. Traudt has shown much excitement from this activity, including her friends and her mother in with all the exciting details of her success in debate and the rewards from it.
“The best part of debate is the feeling you get when you win a debate” said Traudt. “It’s a lot of hard work, research and prep, but the feeling of winning is so worth it and rewarding. If there was one thing I wish people knew about the activity is that the skills you learn in here are skills you will use for the rest of your life. It is arguably one of the most important classes to take in high school.”
Her anticipation and eagerness is contagious, catching the attention and fascination of other students and teachers on a daily basis. Traudt’s hard work and dedication has earned her a spot on the state team, which will be competing in Anchorage February 23rd-25th. Even with the class over for the semester, she continues to demonstrate her individual perspective and represent to others the rewards and enthusiasm that debate brings.