Performance of the Week: October 16


Provided by Jackeline Zapata

Jackeline Zapata ’22 competed against 45 plus schools from six different states to earn first place in congressional debate and is now qualified for state. She is currently preparing for the Regional UIL meet coming up in November. Coach Tasha Jones: “She is awesome and works extremely hard.”

Jackeline Zapata ’22

What is your event?

I compete in various events in Speech and Debate, including Extemporaneous Speaking, Policy Debate, Original Oratory, and others, but I mainly compete in Congressional Debate, where I recently qualified to state through the Texas Forensics Association (TFA).

What are you currently working on?

As of right now, I’m working intensely to qualify to TFA State in my other events, as well as other state qualifications through UIL.

What is the most challenging part?

Speech and Debate in general isn’t necessarily an “easy” organization to be a part of , but the most challenging part of competing in Congressional Debate specifically is the intense amount of research that you have to pour into your speeches and the ability to have the stamina to be in a three-hour session while still giving it your all.

How did you get started?

In seventh grade, I noticed a flyer on the cafeteria window with the words “we’re looking for speakers” on it. I became intrigued with the idea of public speaking, for the concept of being in front of an audience has always captivated me since I was little. After a brief talk with my parents, I showed up to the first meeting the next day, which was notably TM Speech and Debate’s first year in existence, and it was history ever since.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I love going to more challenging tournaments in order to see the speaking, content, and style that my opponents have in order to improve on my speeches as well. It’s really interesting seeing the different skills that other debaters have.

What project would you like to work on next?

Aside from working on my own qualifications and other goals, my main priority now is going to be working with my teammates and helping them in any way I can to make sure they do great at tournaments and potentially get them state/nationally qualified as a result. As our team Co-Vice President, it’s been my pleasure to work with everyone and ensure we are all successful and delighted, and in order to feel satisfied with my progress in this position, I really want to push our team into being the best it can be. After all, TM was ranked second in the state last year at TFA State, so it’s safe to say that teamwork does, indeed, make the dream work!

What is the best advice your director/instructor ever gave you and why?

My debate coach, Mrs. Jones, has told me since I first started debate back in seventh grade to “fake it till you make it,” and this concept has truly stuck with me since. Making others believe I have the strength to take on whatever challenge comes despite being horribly anxious at times, it has certainly made me appear more confident to others and has surprisingly decreased my own self doubt.

What do you hope others will take away from your work?

There is truly so much that I wanna teach the world about in regards to Speech and Debate, but the most important notion is this: use your voice. In debate rounds, I find myself speaking about serious current issues in our world today such as wars, race, climate change, violence, women’s rights, and much more, but you don’t have to wear suits while competing on Saturdays to be informed on what’s happening in the world. Now more than ever, it’s so imperative to understand that the world we live in is filled with issues that affect us as individuals, and if we stay silent about it, nothing will ever get changed. Protest the ineffective policies and horrible injustices that make your blood boil, sign petitions, spread awareness, and be a catalyst for change. As Martin Luther King Jr. once stated, “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Let’s not continuously end our lives with silence, but let us instead revive ourselves by utilizing our platforms to speak up on current world issues that are in dire need of change.

What further goals do you have?

As I progress in Speech and debate, I wish to work harder towards achieving my goal of contributing to the success and happiness of our team, being a positive role model for the team, one day becoming a state champion (and maybe even a national champion too), and overall demonstrating to the Speech and Debate community the true potential I possess to hopefully do great things.

What do you hope to do after graduation?

After I graduate, I plan on hopefully being accepted into UT Austin, where I wish to study to become an attorney. After I pursue this career for a couple of years, I’m planning on gaining the experience that being an attorney will provide me to start potentially campaigning to become a future congresswoman.

Each Monday, the War Cry staff asks sponsors to submit nominations for Performance of the Week. We ask that each nominee complete our questionnaire by the end of the day Tuesday.