PHS speech and debate captain shines as a leader


Anna Atkinson

(from left to right) Makenna Alley, Anna Atkinson, Elsie Spomer, senator John Barrasso, Crystal Emmett and Hannah Hawley posing with team mascot, Gustavo, in the Riverton High School auditorium.

Organized, kind and hard-working. These are all words to describe a solid leader; these are also traits junior Anna Atkinson demonstrates, according to her peers.

Atkinson not only demonstrates the traits of a leader, she puts them into practice as the captain of Powell High School’s speech and debate team. 

“I chose speech and debate after a teacher recommended it to me in middle school,” Atkinson said. “I had never heard of it so I thought I would give it a try and I fell in love with everything about it.”

After participating in speech and debate since her freshman year, Atkinson, who just finished her junior year, was voted captain of the PHS speech and debate team her junior year, during the 2019-20 season. 

“Anna is a good leader who doesn’t take crap from anyone when it comes to the good of the (speech and debate) team,” senior Courtney Childers said. “She tried to check in with everyone and keep peace and is honest”

She was able to help organize the rooms and made sure everyone had a comfortable place to sleep that night.”

— Courtney Childers

It’s not easy sailing, as captain of the speech and debate team; Atkinson has many responsibilities. They include: helping coordinate events, keeping count of members during speech meets, helping members at practice, and making sure the coaches know who is going to which meets. 

“There are many little things that other people on the team would never even think about that I do with my fellow captains,” Atkinson said. “… And something that wouldn’t seem like a big deal, but is actually very hard, is coordinating things and trying to get everyone in the same place to make decisions.”

Speech and debate isn’t all Atkinson does; she has also been a member of choir for five years. Singing is not just a means of enjoyment for her, but choir is a way for Atkinson to help relieve her stress.

In her spare time, Atkinson likes to hang out with her brother and cousins, go on runs with her dog, Finn, and read; also, her favorite animal is a cow.

“This year, at one of the meets the rooming got messed up,” Childers said. “She was able to help organize the rooms and made sure everyone had a comfortable place to sleep that night.”

Atkinson is often busy and puts in the effort that is needed for her many responsibilities, but that doesn’t mean that she can’t enjoy herself while doing it. Yes, she is busy, but she is busy doing what she loves.