Aidan Adams, a junior at Basalt High School, won the 3A Impromptu Speaking state championship at the State Speech and Debate Tournament held at Heritage High School in Denver. Impromptu Speaking is the largest event in the tournament with 40 competitors from 16 different schools from around the state. Earlier this year, senior Tristian Rohrbaugh won the 3A golf championship.
“I have an irrational fear of failing at something I consider myself good at,” said Adams having only been a part of Speech and Debate for one season. “However I managed to do better than I expected.”
Coming from a family that is good at public speaking – Adams’ father is Roger Adams a reporter on the local NPR station, KAJX – Adams finally decided to join speech and debate to show the world what he’s made of.
Adams competed in two events – value debate and impromptu. He chose impromptu because he likes to think on his feet. The participant gets five minutes of prep time after receiving a topic to speak on. In the one-on-one value debate, two people are given a topic – sometimes controversial – and have 30 minutes to prepare both sides of the argument. At the end of this time, a coin is tossed and the winner gets to choose whether to be on the affirmative side or negative side. Then, the debate begins.
“I just assumed that I would move forward in value debate, but I was pleasantly shocked to see I was a finalist in impromptu speaking. I was even more shocked to discover I had won first place,” said Adams.
Since the events Adams competes in have minimal prep time, he has had to learn how to think on his feet – which he believes he is quite good at. “I have somewhat of a photographic memory for important things,” said Adams. “I like to spend some of my time reading the news and just learning about history and important things. Every time I read these, I can remember it and can reference it in a debate or casual conversation.”
This year’s State Speech and Debate meet was hosted by Heritage High School in Denver with close to 400 people in attendance; around 40 of them in Adams’ category. The 11 member BHS Speech and Debate Team has been coached for the last six years by English teacher Mark Howard.
“Our team competed against teams four or five times our size from around the Western Slope and continually shocked everyone by winning and placing at meets,” said Howard. “I am so proud of the dedication of this group and how they supported each other this year.”