PAX exchange student from the Abaarso School in Somaliland presents her national debate qualifier plaque
Nasrin with her national debate qualifier plaque—what a great accomplishment!

Can't argue with success

At the beginning when I was making the decision to join the debate team, I was very excited and so looking forward to it. All I could think of was the arguments that I would be making and how well educated I would be by the time I finished the season. Later on, when we started, everything was different than I had expected. There were two main things that were different. First, I was the only student on the team, and all of sudden, I realized I had the responsibility of representing my American school, my program, and myself as well! Secondly, it was difficult, and I needed to learn more about the country itself. 

Meanwhile, as I went to a couple of competitions, it got interesting. With each one, I loved the activity more. It wasn't because I was winning or losing but because I was practicing and competing at the same time and learning new things about history and government all the while.

Soon, it was time for the state debate tournament and nationals. Remembering that this was my first time doing organized debating, I never dreamed of making it to the state debate or nationals. However, I did my best and made it to the state tournament—that was very exciting! I got to meet all the good debaters in Wisconsin. Weeks later, I competed in another tournament to see if I could make it to the national tournament; I actually believed in myself this time. I wanted so badly to go to nationals.

I later got the news that I was a qualifier for nationals and became the happiest girl!

—Nasrin (PAX Means Peace Scholar, Somaliland), hosted by the Horneck family (WI)