Photo and Article by Robert Merrick
Across Santa Rosa High School’s impressive catalog of engaging and enjoyable clubs, the debate club is one of the best, and most accomplished. The club was started in true force by coach Miranda Olzman with Casey Elsa as the advisor and Ms. Petersen, a parent who urged the club to become more competitive.
In the early 2000s Petersen approached Elsa for her to take over as the club’s supervisor, in an effort to turn the club – into a team. The club’s former advisor, Andrew Brennan, had the club which met at lunch to discuss significant events happening in the world. After some changes, the era of competition began. The club would win numerous awards throughout the Golden Gate Speech Association, the league which they competed within. Now the club is helmed by Jennifer Cadden and the 4 officers, captains Oliver Niehuser and Carson Cook, secretary Hannah Gurtovoy and treasurer Chelle Servais.
So far the club has competed in three debates with partners Mac Peyton and Leila Paine, Kevin Zhai and Julia Sanabria, Evan Meier and Robert Merrick, Maya Clark and Lee Corey, Oliver Niehuser and Carson Cook, Marcus Stephens and Evan Meier and partners Hannah Gurtovoy and Chelle Servais.
When asked how they felt about Debate, freshman Maya Clark said “Debate has helped me really get me out of my shell. I’m generally a pretty shy person and debate has been a very fun way to get more comfortable, and I will definitely be joining again next year.” Alongside them, debater sophomore Marcus Stephens wanted to talk about their similar experience with debate: “The community in debate is really good, I feel that we’ve been able to build a really good community where everybody is comfortable. It has also been a really good experience for me to learn public speaking, not only how to speak well, but also to listen well.”
This club is a well-loved piece of Santa Rosa High School and while its season is ending soon, it is guaranteed that there will be many familiar faces in the club next year, and hopefully some new enthusiastic debaters as well.