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Junior Christina Mack will compete in the student congress nationals this Memorial Day Weekend

Junior Christina Mack will compete in the student congress nationals this Memorial Day Weekend

Natalie Poole

Natalie Poole

Junior Christina Mack will compete in the student congress nationals this Memorial Day Weekend

Jessie Moyer, Sentry Staff Reporter

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Public speaking may be the number one fear for adults, but not for students who participate in debate. The skill of speaking in front of an audience is something that must be practiced and perfected, and for junior Christina Mack, this skill has been mastered. On March 11 and 12, Mack competed in the Metro-Finals competition and qualified for Nationals for student congress.

“For student congress, we have a room of 20-30 people and we debate on different legislation that people have written and then we give speeches in either the affirmation or the negation on that bill and then we vote on whether or not we want to pass that,” said Mack.

This achievement was not easily acquired by Mack and it included a tremendous amount of work and practice. To prepare for this competition, Mack wrote speeches and researched the topics she would debate. Although some students can improvise a majority of their speech, Mack likes to take a different route.

“I get kind of nervous so I generally write everything out. You need to have 6 sources for your speech so you need to figure that out ahead of time. I generally write out a full speech with 3 points and everything laid out and transitions in it and then occasionally I’ll just add something in,” said Mack.

In competitions, there are three categories of topics that are debated: domestic, economic and international topics. Mack must debate a range of topics; however, some are more favorable than others.

“Anything that’s pretty recent is good [to debate about], it’s always pretty easy to research. I find it easier to get good articles on [recent topics] than on something that happened 10 years ago. I always like domestic in general, it’s pretty interesting to me just because it’s always something going on in my life right now as opposed to sometimes economic topics, which I don’t really care about at this point in my life,” said Mack.

Because of Mack’s experience with debate, public speaking and writing well-thought-out speeches come easily for Mack and along the way, she has picked up many helpful tips.

“As far as writing good speeches, just go onto Google news and without having an opinion about the topic, find what the articles are saying. Just search like Russia and see what comes up and get some good statistics going and then you can kind of shape your speech around them,” said Mack

Having an impartial, non-biased argument is very important to Mack and this is something many people struggle with in debate. When it comes to public speaking, Mack knows how to make herself look as professional as possible.

“It’s best to make sure you have eye contact. If you’re giving a speech you should read through it ahead of time so you know you can look up and you actually know what you’re saying. Don’t make weird pauses, use hand gestures and don’t play with your hair,” said Mack.

Nationals takes place Memorial Day weekend in Sacramento, California and Mack is extremely excited but also nervous. It is clear Mack has a bright future ahead of her and although she is planning on being a veterinarian, it is clear that the public speaking skills she has acquired from debate will help her go far in life.

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