HHS students prep for debate tournament

HARLINGEN — Grant Burbach stood at the podium defending his position on gun control, insisting there should be more restrictions.

“I think it’s too easy for the wrong people to own guns,” said Grant, 16, a sophomore at HarlingenHigh School. Background checks should include searches for nonviolent crimes such as stalking, which often escalate to violent crimes, he said.

“Do you think this will deter good people from actually getting guns?” fired back Irene Tyler, 15, a member of the school’s Speech, Drama and Debate Team like Grant.

A volley of heavy declarations and stinging challenges shot back and forth in rapid succession for 10 minutes before they concluded their practice session.

Irene and Grant were preparing to compete in the Harvard Invitational Meet next month along with five other students under the direction of their coach and sponsor, Tasha Kneis. Irene is competing in the Lincoln Douglas event, and Grant is competing in Congressional Debate. Others are competing in original oratory, extemporaneous speaking and dramatic performance.

Students are feeling the pressure.

“I am very excited to go to Harvard,” said Irene, a sophomore. “I haven’t gone on a big trip with the debate team. Everyone is working hard and it’s a bit nerve-wracking.”

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