Senior captures UIL state title


provided by Melissa Maier

Senior Parker Butler captured the championship at the UIL state competition in Austin on Tuesday.

Thousands of students from across the state of Texas compete each year in a variety of UIL debate competitions but senior Parker Butler is the lone 5A champion in Lincoln-Douglas Debate after earning the title Tuesday in Austin.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Butler said. “We have a fantastic academic team here at Liberty and I’m glad to have helped push that forward. It was a great way to end off the past four years I’ve put into debate, especially considering I hadn’t ever even made it past districts before this year. It was also great being able to truly represent Liberty at a state event, which turned some heads since a lot of other debate teams across the state hadn’t heard much of us before now.”

Failing to advance in years past, Butler swept the district, regional and state titles.

“I’ve never been more proud,” debate teacher Melissa Maier said. “We’ve expected this from him even in previous years, but it’s great that it finally happened for him his senior year. It’s just been a matter of determination. It’s just been sheer will that he’s been driving his cases. He’s been working very hard. He’s been practicing nonstop and he went to district and was number one and he went to regionals and was number one so this is just following a trend for him.”

While a personal accomplishment for Butler, his state championship will leave a legacy.

“This shows that the Liberty debate team is on the rise,” Butler said. “We had a couple of our team members go to state for CX debate earlier this year as well, and three of the top four LD debaters at districts this year were from Liberty. We’ve put in the work and dedication, and I am incredibly proud to see that come to fruition. I’m ready to pass the torch to the amazing juniors and sophomores we have on our team, and I know they’ll continue to help us build a lasting program.”

Speech and debate students see tangible benefits from participation while in school – confidence in speaking situations, spontaneity in interviews, improved writing in other courses, diverse perspectives.

“It’s honestly really great because spending this year with him as the LD captain, I can say that he is a great debater and he is a great teacher,” junior Elaine Mei said. “I’m not surprised at all. I’m really glad he won the state championship. I feel like my speaking skills and my argument skills definitely have improved under him.”

While he has helped his teammates improve, Butler contributes most of his learning and experience to people who have helped him grow throughout his four years of debate.

“A lot of amazing people have supported me along the way,” Butler said. “This includes my coach, team, and parents. The debate season lasts all year, and I couldn’t have done this without the consistent dedication from my teammates. We all work off of each other. I hadn’t had the best of luck when it came to UIL debate competitions in my previous years, so I knew this year had to be different. I think that work ethic made the difference.”