Senior Nadia Garcia and sophomore Colby Menefee spent the first part of their spring break in Austin competing in the state CX Debate meet, finishing the competition as quarterfinalists after losing a round to the repeating state champion team. In addition, Menefee was named fourth Top Speaker in the 3A contest.
The meet started on Monday so they had time to relax in Austin after they arrived Sunday afternoon for registration. They went to a SXSW health fair at one of the local parks.
“We went to an oxygen bar,” senior Nadia Garcia said. “Oxygen bars help open up your airways so you can breath better.”
According to Menefee, they didn’t want to just go do normal things, they really wanted to get out of their comfort zone and experience new things.
“We went to a quiet zone after that,” Menefee said. “A quiet zone is a place where people go to calm down and lower their heart rate. Everyone takes their shoes off, closes their eyes, and listens to quiet music.”
The competitors also enjoyed a meal at Shady Grove before heading to their hotel for the night.
“We knew meals that we would actually be able to take time and enjoy would not be happening on competition days,” coach Melonie Menefee said. “We were on campus Monday from 7:30 in the morning until 10 at night. I wanted them to have at least one relaxed meal.”
The next day, the real work began. The team woke up early and headed to the University of Austin’s Teaching Center to compete.
“It was really early and we were tired but our minds were wide awake,” Garcia said. “It was scary because everything we’d been preparing for was about to happen.”
Garcia is a senior, so it was her very last time to debate in high school.
“It was really sad going into the room knowing it’ll be my last time debating with Colby,” Garcia said. “We’ve grown not only as partners but also as friends.”
Menefee felt the same way.
“Nadia is an amazing debater and I’m honored I could be her partner this year,” Menefee said. “She’s taught me so many skills I’m guaranteed to use in the future.”
After six long rounds within the span of two days, the team made it to quarterfinals. They lost that round against the team that won the state meet last year, who went on to win it again for the second year in a row.
“I’m very impressed with how far they got,” debate teacher Jill Henson said. “They worked hard all year and I’m so glad it payed off. Going deep into the state meet is all we could’ve asked for.”
Garcia plans to attend A&M University and be on the speech team.
“I love debate so much and I couldn’t imagine stopping in high school,” Garcia said. “Debate is so much more than arguing. It furthers the mind and opens it to new ideas.”