“Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.”
Ralph Marston, former NFL Quarterback
Graduating class of 2013, as debaters you have developed and begun to refine a unique skill set that will benefit you for the entirety of your life, professional career, and personal affairs. As a recently graduated senior myself, I do not say this from experience, but rather from both observing public figures who lack the ability to think critically or communicate clearly or persuade effectively, and from professionals, coaches, and instructors who have experienced the benefits of the skills required to compete in debate.
Why do I say this? So that no one will abandon or neglect the skills you have developed throughout high school. Really, it does not matter if your senior year was your novice year or if you have been debating for 6 years and have older siblings who are high school debate legends. You have worked and invested hours and days and weeks and months (and probably years) into debate, so keep those skills with you forever.
Does this mean you should debate in college, go to law school, and become one of the best trial attorneys in the US? Maybe not. But does this mean you should think critically, always be aware of current events, be able to reason and persuade effectively, and communicate clearly in any situation? Absolutely.
As I prepare for my freshman year of college, I’m still unsure whether or not I’ll participate in any form of debate, and if I do which styles. But what I am definitely sure of (as should all of you graduates) is that the skills I have developed over the years I have spent in high school debate are skills I will continue to use and refine indefinitely.
Always be witty, always think critically, always communicate clearly.