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Turlock students debate their way to state competition
Four Turlock High School students will compete in the state-level debate competition in April. The students pictured above are: Grayson Blakeley, Nadine Khedry, Kevin Harris and Anthony Guzman. - photo by MAEGAN MARTENS / The Journal
Four Turlock High students have honed their skills in the ancient art of logical argument and will soon be competing in their respective divisions at the state level of high school debate competition.
“It’s nice because it gives me a compliment to my writing ability,” said Anthony Guzman, who will be competing individually in the Original Oratory division with his speech titled, “I believe it’s not butter.”
Grayson Blakeley and Kevin Harris will work as a team in the Policy Debate division, focusing on increasing social services, while Nadine Khedry will compete in the Lincoln-Douglas debate focusing on jury nullification.
The state competition will be held April 16-18 at Bakersfield Community College. Each student will compete against 64 teams or 64 individuals, depending on their category.  
To prepare for the state competition, the Turlock High students will conduct more research looking for possible rebuttal cases other teams might use against them.
“We have to keep building our cases,” Khedry said.
Most of the research done is to help each student argue both sides to help them win the debate, Harris said.
Looking at different ways people can interpret the case helps in competition preparation, and hopefully, gives an advantage to take home the win, Khedry said. Her favorite part of debating is the logical part, trying to think of how other people will interpret her case.
While each student prepares for the other team’s case, they are also judged on their delivery, quality, evidence and the ability to be on offense and defense, Khedry said.
Each student qualified for the state competition because they won most of the competitions in their league. Khedry lost one out of three rounds in the state qualifying competition, while Harris and Blakeley won all of their rounds. Guzman did so well in tournaments throughout the year he automatically qualified for the state competition.  
“Through debate, you learn a lot,” Blakeley said. “The skills you learn are invaluable.”
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.