By Laura McAlister
Being named the state’s top Lincoln-Douglas debater was quite an honor for Wyatt Moore. But he’s still got one more year of high school, and his plans are to top that.
Last school year, Wyatt’s debating skills earned him the state’s top spot in Lincoln-Douglas debate and received the Most Outstanding State Competitor award. The Mountain Brook High School student hopes to keep those titles and add more during his senior year.
“I’d like to defend my title as Alabama State Champion in Lincoln-Douglas debate, ” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll qualify for Nationals like I did my sophomore year or the Tournament of Champions. That would be a first. That would be a very big deal.”
Either one would be a big deal. Nationals and the Tournament of Champions, or TOC, as debaters call it, are the top competitions for high school debaters, with TOC being the most prestigious.
Not only was Wyatt the state’s top Lincoln-Douglas debater, the Mountain Brook High team also was the overall state champion.
“Last year, everyone as a whole did extraordinarily well,” Wyatt said. “One policy team went the farthest in the Tournament of Champions, and we won overall state champions. As a team we did very well.”
The policy team of Philippa Straus and Evan McCarty was among the top teams in the nation, finishing second at the TOC. Evan graduated, but Philippa will return to the debate team for her senior year with a new partner.
Wyatt hopes to see his team excel as a whole again during his senior year. In fact, like many of his teammates, he’s working on doing just that this summer.
He spent two weeks in Colorado Springs, Colo., honing his debate skills at debate camp. He said in all this summer, he’ll spend about four weeks working on his Lincoln-Douglas debate skills.
Unlike policy debate, an event in which teams of two advocate for and against a resolution, Lincoln-Douglas debate is a one-on-one debate usually focusing on ethics and values.
Wyatt said that although debate can take up lots of his time, it’s worth it. It’s even helped him in other classes, and he suspects it will help in the future.
Wyatt is taking all AP classes this year and will be president of the Key Club and a member of the Student Government Association.
Debate meets frequently take him out of state – he’s traveled to Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles – but he’s learned to juggle school and debate.
“I do miss a lot of school, but it really does help with schoolwork in general,” Wyatt said. “I would definitely recommend debate for others.”
Wyatt started debating in the ninth grade. He said it’s helped sharpen his critical thinking skills. While it may take him away from school, he said, it’s also made him a better student. One of his debate topics was even a question on the SAT.
Although he’s still deciding where he’ll go to school after graduation, he suspects debate will be a part of his college education and maybe even his career.
Wyatt is the son of Mac and Angela Moorer. His father is a lawyer; Wyatt said he’s far from deciding on a profession, but it’s always a possibility he’ll follow in his father’s footsteps. His years in debate have prepared him for the challenge.
“I don’t really know what I’m going to do when I graduate,” he said. “I’m really open to anything. I might use my skills to be a lawyer someday.”
For now, he just wants to focus on his senior year and making the best of it. He also has some advice for new students just coming to Mountain Brook High School.
“Just don’t get bogged down or overwhelmed and enjoy it,” he said. “The best thing about Mountain Brook is the friendships and all the great people and quality teachers. The quality of education is unmatched by anybody in the state.”