Richardson Makes Her Voice Heard

Kyla Stout, Staff

It is known that in order to become extremely skilled in an area, preparation is needed. Years and years are sometimes required in order to make a statewide mark in most categories of skill.
But in the case of Makaylah Richardson’s success story, she had been a rookie in debate as of last fall.
“I’ve only been on debate for a year. Raymond Lappin actually convinced me to join debate because in [Jamie Mooring]’s class last year we had Socratic Seminars and a couple in-class debates. He thought I was really good debating in those so he told me I might actually enjoy debating and he was right,” Richardson said.
Richardson gained perspective through debate. She says she began to appreciate the challenges that came along with debating different sides of an argument.
“I’m really into the analytical aspect because I consider myself much more of an analytically-based thinker,” Richardson said. “When I think about everything in life I just feel like debate has helped me refine my perspective in a way that really allows me to voice the way I feel about things and the way the world fits in my eyes. It’s helped me refine my own vision for myself.”
Despite Richardson’s late start as a debate team member, she was able to rise to the same level of the peers beside her, many of them three-year veterans of the class. She was able to voice a topic that she was eager to speak up about.
“My original oratory is a platform speech. It’s about 10-minutes long with about a 30-second grace period and you’re essentially supposed to make it entertaining and talk about an issue you’re really passionate about. My original oratory was about depression in minority communities and how a lot of the time the community itself looks over it. It’s garnered me some success; I’ve been doing pretty well with it,” Richardson said.
Richardson brought her newly-found passion for debate to state where she prevailed against her competitors.
“I was ranked first overall in both 3A and 4A. I went undefeated in every round through [preliminaries] and that was insane for me. I was hoping to do well but I didn’t expect to do that well my first year in debate,” Richardson said. “That was pretty exciting for me, I got a national individual tournament of champions qualifier so first place gets a straight bid to that tournament.”
Debate has been where Richardson has triumphed but it isn’t only success she will walk away with. She found herself obtaining friendships within her team and from other schools.
“The best part about debate, and I’m pretty sure everyone else on the debate team can affirm this, is the people you meet. It’s just so enriching because you meet a whole bunch of intellectually like-minded people from different schools that you wouldn’t have met without debate,” Richardson said.
Debate made Richardson’s senior year at Puyallup High School memorable, she says. She had focused on her academics prior to senior year and had planned on taking it easy in her last year. Those plans changed when she decided to join the debate team but Richardson doesn’t regret it.
“I wouldn’t give it back for the world. I really enjoy my team and I really enjoy Sherry and everyone and I’m thankful that I’ve had the experience because it made my senior year a lot more fun,” Richardson said.