On Dec. 14, the senior broke the forensic speech and debate team’s overall scoring record for Lincoln-Douglas debaters, the National Forensic League’s official name for a one-on-one debate format.
As of mid-December, Lear had racked up more than 1,100 points.
He shattered graduate Cass Holt’s previous record of 1,061, set in 2010 as a senior, and still has several months left to pad his score.
Lear claimed the title at Vermilion High School’s ninth annual John A. Mosley Memorial Speech and Debate Tournament, the team’s only home match of the year. Hundreds of students from 17 high schools participated, with Vermilion High School’s team placing second overall.
“It really was perfect timing,” Lear said. “It didn’t even dawn on me that I’d have a chance to break the record until midway through last season”
Lear is team president and math teacher Devon Snook coaches the team, which includes about 45 active students.
All members are devoted, logging several hours before and after school for individual practice sessions and weekend travel to competitions, Snook said.
“This team has had more success than any previous one I’ve coached, and it’s been great to see it go hand-in-hand with (Lear’s) achievements,” Snook said. “I’ve worked more with him than anyone else in my nine years of coaching here, and that’s attributable to his desire to improve himself and to win”
Lear’s advice to anyone participating in forensic speech and debate:
• You’ll only get out of an event what work you put into it, so work as hard as possible.
• Despite that hard work, be willing to take criticism well and improve yourself through it.
“A joke we all say is ‘we’ve never lost a round in our life, the judge just takes a win away from us,’” Lear said. “But all kidding aside, you need to learn to accept defeat and build on it, even if you think you deserved to win. I didn’t start winning consistently until last year”
Lear is now ranked 12th of all Lincoln-Douglas debaters in Ohio and will likely head to state competition this spring. He hopes to qualify for national competition this year. He placed in the top 16 at state this past year.
In addition to the speech and debate team, Lear is an Eagle Scout and is involved in golf and Ohio Model United Nations.