Senior Spotlight

Madelyn Beckel qualifies for nationals in Speech and Debate

Savannah Carroll, Chief Features Editor

For senior Madelyn Beckel, Speech and Debate is far more about team than the individual.
“It really is a team effort, and every single person involved contributes to making the activity all of the wonderful things that it has become,” she said. “Whether individuals are winning or losing, they serve some sort of purpose that molds the activity we all commonly share a passion for.”
It’s this mentality that not only makes Beckel a mentor for Speech and Debate members, but also strengthens her as a competitor.
Beckel competed in International Extemp at the Speech and Debate national tournament in June. She advanced to the quarter-final round [Top 30].
Junior Emma Curd spoke about Beckel’s effect on the team.
“Mady has helped us all by honestly being herself because she is so funny and kind,” she said. “She brings a whole new light to the team.”
Speech and Debate head coach Ms. Missy Stertzbach spoke about Beckel’s achievements during the national tournament as well as her character.
“I am most proud of the young woman she has become,” she said. “She is a confident, yet patient leader to her younger counterparts. In terms of her achievements in Speech and Debate, I am extremely proud of her accomplishments at this past national tournament. Mady placed among the top 30 in the nation in International Extemp.  This is a remarkable achievement.”
International Extemp requires much knowledge and discipline.
“Extemporaneous Speaking is a speech on current events with limited preparation time,” according to the National Speech and Debate Association. “A student’s understanding of important political, economic, and cultural issues is assessed along with critical thinking and analytical skills. Students report to a draw room where all of the extempers gather at tables, set out their files, and await their turn to draw topics. Students may access research brought with them to the tournament during the 30-minute preparation period. When prep time is up, the student reports to the competition room to deliver a seven-minute speech. Students have a lot to do in 30 minutes — they must select a question, review research, outline arguments with supporting materials, and practice at least part of the speech before time expires. Many tournaments prohibit the consultation of notes during the speech in which case speech structure and evidence need to be memorized during prep time as well.”
Beckel is equally as proud of herself because of all the time, effort and work she has put into the team these past years. The team practices for many hours to reach their competition goals and have done an excellent job getting there.
“I am most proud of qualifying to the national tournament and breaking into the top thirty speakers in the country,” she said. “Seeing hard work pay off is something that will never get old.”
Stertzbach said Beckel’s work on the team will impact Hoover Speech and Debate for years to come.
“Mady is having a big impact on our program by continuing to compete at the highest level,” Stertzbach said. “Hoover has recently become one of the leaders in our district in Extemp. Mady is continuing this trend and helping to ensure that it will continue through her mentorship of our younger students.”
Not only is Speech and Debate a fun activity for Beckel, it has become a way for her to use her platform to speak on more serious topics.
“I am proud of how I have been able to use this activity as a way of spreading awareness regarding hardships that the international community faces,” Beckel said. “It’s an incredibly impactful activity to be immersed with and it’s a great way to shed light on many issues that are generally pushed under the rug by our world.”