Ardmore High School’s speech and debate team The Act reached a new milestone last week when they joined  the National Speech and Debate Association’s 200 Club for 2017.
Only two or three schools in the state are recognized as 200 Club members. It’s an accomplishment that takes a dedicated team, hours of practice, good academic standing and lots of competing in various tournaments. Speech and debate coach Brian Gunter said he was caught off-guard when the team’s certificate arrived.  
“Starting from zero members three years ago to this now is huge,” Gunter said. “Last year, when we became a member of the 100 Club I was like ‘Wow, that’s cool, I didn’t expect that to happen this quickly.’ Then I turn around and we’re in the 200 Club.”
“Degrees” are how the National Speech and Debate Association measures a competing student’s achievements. The award is given to teams that collectively rack up 200 degrees, which are ranks students earn by competing and collecting points as individuals. The tally starts over at the beginning of a new school year. Gunter said The Act has roughly 75 students actively competing right now, roughly the same number as last year.  
 “It’s really hard to earn that first degree,” Gunter said. “A first year student will work all year for two or three degrees, we have about 25 new students this year. They’ll earn about two or three degrees each, and the students who’ve been here will all earn about two or three as well.”
Last year, students only competed in one tournament. This year, they’ve competed in two out-of-state tournaments and won the  first place sweepstakes at their first in-state competition last week in Moore. The better they perform in competitions, the more quickly students earn points and gain degrees.
“I never thought about doing this,” Gunter said. “This came in the mail and I was like ‘Wow, I didn’t know we’d done that!”