By Nancy Whitney
The Wylie High School Pirate Debate and Academic Teams competed at the Regional 5A contest the weekend of April 25 at Stephen F. Austin University. The teams competed against some of the top 5A schools in the state.
National qualifiers from Prosper, Lovejoy, Frisco Centennial, Lindale, Hallsville participated including other areas.
Wylie High’s debate star Evan Lope placed 1st in Persuasive Extemporaneous Speaking, claiming the Regional Championship in his event and receiving a bid to the State Debate Meet in Austin later in the month.
Evan said finding success comes down to how much you want it.
“A lot of the time, the problem isn’t that someone isn’t willing to work, but that motivation fades away,” Evan said. “A combination of discipline and motivation with a continued drive is the only way to keep going, even when the work just seems tedious.”
Evan’s hard work has paid off repeatedly throughout the debate season, both in team efforts and solo. In January, Evan and Savannah Gibson captured first place in the Cross Examination Team Debate at the District 10-5A Policy Debate Contest. Evan also placed third in the 2nd Annual State Congressional Debate contest in January where he competed against more than 400 5A high school entries.
In March, Evan and Savannah qualified in Policy Debate at the National Qualifying Debate tournament. Evan and Savannah were the first two students from WHS to triple qualify, qualifying in Policy Placing, 2nd place; Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking, placing 1st and 2nd; and Congressional Debate, also placing 1st and 2nd. Evan and Savannah were then one of the top 12 Cross Examination Teams at the State Championships held at the University of Texas at Austin on March 28, with their only two losses to the number one and number two teams in the state.
Evan said that all the hard work in the world wouldn’t have paid off without the foundation he received from debate coach Travis Hiltbrunner.
“Without him, none of this would have been possible,” he said.