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“Debate not only gave me a community, but also motivated me to learn as much as I could in school. I believe it is the extracurricular activity of future leaders. Debate taught me how to speak publicly and confidently and how to share my opinions in a productive and respectful way. Right now, what matters most is being able to reach levels of understanding with people who are different from you, so we can come together and create a better future. We can’t do this if we don’t have the ability to articulate our opinions and positions in a clear, thoughtful, and respectful way.”

Jessie Finlay-Murcia, South Eugene, Debate Team, SEHS class of 2022

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Dear Friends of Debate,

As a former debate coach and educator interested in providing students with active learning experiences, I am advocating support for Friends of South Eugene High School as they work to provide debate experiences for students. Ten years ago the district withdrew financial support for speech programs in the four high schools. At that time with the help of a group of parents, a parent with significant debate experience stepped up to run the team. The parent coach has since retired. The “parent group” has been working toward establishing the South Eugene High School Speech and Debate Team within the 4J School District. Under the group’s current plan, part of a new coach’s salary would be covered by annual fees from families, thus parents are working to build the team’s annual fund. As of now they receive $1,000 annually from a single benefactor. We need to increase that fund to at least $5,000 annually, so the team can maintain a coach’s salary.

Economic barriers may keep students from participating. Tournament fees and travel can be quite costly

depending on event type and number of tournaments entered. The SEHS Speech and Debate Team has

established a fund to subsidize tournament fees for students unable to afford them. A gift of $500 would

allow a single student to participate in a full year of tournaments. A gift of $1,000 would pay for two

months of the coach’s salary. By helping to pay coaching costs we can keep annual fees on a sliding scale

to make debate accessible to all students. Debate/Forensics used to be taught by a full time licensed

educator, and students received English credit. This year our debaters had to step up and run the team

without a coach. To grow and compete at the tournament level the team will need the leadership and

continuity of a professional licensed Forensics/Speech educator. To that end, I have just contributed $10K

toward building a fund to hire and pay a qualified coach. Please consider joining me by giving a

meaningful one-time or annual donation that will give the team a strong foundation for years to come.

A donation to SEHS Speech and Debate is a great investment in our country’s future. Speech and Debate

cultivates valuable skills in students to be better world citizens. As the above quotation from Jessie

clearly articulates, debate helps students become critical thinkers, introduces them to current events, and teaches them to communicate effectively and respectfully.

We need your help. Please join me today by sending a donation to Friends of SEHS Speech and Debate.


Nancy Oft Rose

Eugene, Oregon

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