College Park HS - Wednesday, November 15, 2023: A moment of pride for College Park High School as Jessie Merriwether, a bright student from the class of 2025, clinched first place at the UIL 6A Region 6 Congressional Debate at the Legends Event Center in Bryan, Texas, on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. This victory marks the opening of the year's speech and debate tournament season, showcasing Jessie's exceptional skills in a challenging role-play of the United States House of Representatives.
Jessie's journey in debate began with her selection of the professional communications elective class. Under the guidance of Mr. Gibson, the school's revered debate coach, Jessie discovered her passion for debate and public speaking. "Mr. Gibson taught me everything I know," Jessie shared, attributing her success to his dedicated coaching.
In her second year of competing, Jessie has an impressive track record: qualifying for NSDA Nationals in 2022, placing 10th in the state in UIL poetry, winning the Policy debate District Champion, and qualifying for State. Her dedication is evident as she practices daily, aspiring to continue debate in college and potentially pursue a career in agricultural law.
Jessie's parents are thrilled with her achievements, especially considering the potential for scholarship opportunities. Her competitive spirit, coupled with her willingness to put in the effort, has been pivotal in her success. Even in her first tournament, she secured second place, setting the stage for her future triumphs.
The Congressional Debate at UIL is not just a test of public speaking but an intricate simulation of the legislative process, mirroring the workings of the United States Congress. Participants like Jessie draft and research legislation on real-world social and political issues. The event involves caucusing in committees, delivering persuasive speeches, and engaging in parliamentary-style debate.
Jessie's success serves as an inspiration to other students. College Park High School emphasizes that joining the debate club does not require being in a debate class, encouraging more students to explore this enriching activity.
As Jessie looks to the future, her experiences in debate and public speaking lay a strong foundation for her aspirations in law and beyond. The school and community celebrate her accomplishments and eagerly anticipate her future endeavors.