A debate team representing Ferris High School is headed to Austin to a state competition next month – and its coaches, Allison Davis and Wayne Anthony, couldn’t be prouder.

“This is the first time a team from Ferris has gone to state, so this is a rather historic moment for us,” Davis said.

On Feb. 4, Davis took two teams to district competition in Crandall, where she served as a debate coach for four years, with one of her teams taking first place.

“It was kind of a weird feeling being over there with my teams from Ferris and competing with my former students in Crandall,” said Davis, a 2000 graduate of Ferris High School and a graduate of University of Texas, Arlington, with a bachelor’s degree in speech.

“Ferris and Crandall are big rival schools,” she said. “And many people have thought it is interesting that our other coach, Wayne Anthony, is from Crandall and I am from Ferris.”

State competition will be held in Austin during Ferris’ spring break, March 15-16. Winners of the competition will qualify for a berth in the nationals in Kansas City.

The debate team competed at the Cross Examination Debate district meet Feb. 4 at Central Baptist Church in Crandall, with Ferris junior Taylor Maass and sophomore Tyler Crippin placing first and advancing to the state meet, which will be held at the University of Texas in Austin.

Sydnee Erickson, a junior, and sophomore Noah Shields received third place, making their team an alternate to state. Erickson received the top speaker award at the tournament, receiving 88 out of 90 possible points. Ferris senior Grace Martin and sophomore Sergio Gomez placed fourth at the meet. 

“This is Ferris’ second year to compete in Cross Examination Debate,” Davis said, explaining that it is a two-contestant team event in which the students debate over a national topic.

“This year’s CX resolution is the United States federal government should substantially increase social services for persons living in poverty in the United States,” she said.

She noted that contestants in this event create a policy for the federal government to implement to prove the resolution to be true. Students learn how to debate for and against the topic by proving or disproving the plan.

The Cross Examination Debate team is coached by Davis and Anthony. This is Davis’ first year as debate coach at Ferris and Anthony’s second. Both coaches taught at Crandall High School; Davis coached the speech and debate team and Anthony coached football and track. Anthony, a graduate of Crandall High School, was a state qualifier in Informative Extemporaneous Speaking.

“My graduating class will be celebrating its 10-year reunion this year and I am very excited to be returning home to teach in the community I grew up in,” Davis said.

The Ferris speech and debate team competed at the National Forensic League district tournament in Whitehouse on Feb. 18-20. There were 21 schools that competed. Ferris senior Reyna Shields placed second in International Extemporaneous Speaking and junior Sydnee Erickson placed third in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking.

Both girls, who previously competed at the national level, advanced to the NFL national tournament. The National Forensic League is the largest speech and debate organization in the world and its nationals will be held in Kansas City, Mo., in June.  The Speech and Debate team also is coached by Davis and Anthony.

Contact Paul at paul.gauntt@wninews.com or 469-517-1450.