No Debate Needed: Price Is Top Of Her Field


Laynee Hall, Staff Writer

When she was in middle school, Sofia Price was introduced to what the world of debate could look like from the small scale of her history classroom.

Her teacher had held a classroom discussion that consisted of engaging conversations and articulated thoughts and opinions on certain subjects, which instantly captured her attention. Five years later and all the way through high school, Price is still just as interested in debate, shown not only by her position as debate team captain, but also her recent accomplishment of being named Sterling Scholar for the category of Speech, Theatre, and Forensics.

Through debate and participating in important conversations, Price has used her experience as a debater to not only become better at it over the years, but has also found that many of the skills she learned and picked up in debate have helped her in other aspects of her life. Things like being able to talk to people in social situations and defend an argument are both things crucial to being successful in life, and both are things Price has learned from her time on the debate team.

“Debate has helped me gain confidence and public speaking skills and has helped me feel more comfortable speaking to people in different settings because I know that I am capable of doing it.” Price said. “When I first started doing debate I had a lot of anxiety about it on top of my other anxiety, but doing debate and being able to push myself outside of my comfort zone has helped me to mitigate it.”

This ability of conversation that Price has gained through debate and all of the skills it teaches students is one that is coveted by many. Being able to engage with people of all different personalities and backgrounds is not necessarily a skill that comes easy to most people. Price, however, has learned how to take charge of her environment and her team and use the skills she has acquired to lead her team and herself to success.

Price is also looking to use what she has learned from debate to help her through college and into a potential career. She has always known that she wanted to make a difference in her community, even from a young age. From going through stages of wanting to be a teacher, lawyer, and now an anthropologist, change is something that she knows she wants to pursue. Even though taking the steps in deciding what to do as a career is very difficult, Price is hoping that with her decision she can help create change in diversity and inclusion on a larger scale.

“I want to go into anthropology and major in that” Price said. “I have always had an interest in learning about people and other cultures we don’t have represented her and anthropology was the thing that allowed me to learn about that.”

Price has also taken the initiative to use what she has learned from debate to advocate for change in communities and encourage increasing diversity and action more locally, within both Utah and Highland communities.

“Creating diversity always has interested me more than anything else.” Price said. “I want to work for more diversity and use the abilities I’ve gained from debate like public speaking abilities and research abilities to help me with this later on in college and my career.”

As a part of the BIPOC union and pride club at Highland, Sofia has worked to put her speaking abilities to good use in the environment of creating sustainable and important change within the Highland community. She also worked to organize a “June-teenth” event over the summer to encourage Utah citizens to contribute to calling the day a holiday.

Coming from the world of debate, she has the ability to converse with people and represent an idea, both of which are necessary in the world of social justice and accomplishing change.

In the world of academics, Price remains very accomplished. With an impressive resume of IB, Debate, and now Sterling scholar, it is safe to say that she understands the commitment needed to be successful and maintain balance in life. She also manages to fit her job, a social life, and volunteering into her busy schedule, something she credits her mom with helping her greatly in.

“I help her the most by giving her the skills she needs to stay organized. Having structure and planning things out.” Said Price’s mother Carley Thill. “I encourage her to know her limits and make sure she eats well and gets enough sleep.”

Currently, Price works at the Discovery gateway as guide, telling people information about the different exhibits and answering questions, something that she would not have been able to do without debate in her life.

“My debate coach was one of my recommendation people in order to get my job.” Price said. But this recommendation she acquired through debate isn’t the only thing that helps her to succeed in her job setting. “Through my skills from debate I am able to talk to people better and be a better problem solver for my work.”

Describing debate as being very rewarding and opportunistic, Price said that one of the most unique and fun thing she got to do out of being in debate was going to Arches National Park as a part of a field trip the team takes each year.

“Going to arches was really cool. The first time I had ever actually gone was with my debate team, and I got to not only go to a new place but also go and hang out with my team and have fun.” Price said.

As a captain and therefore leader on the team, Price has made an effort to make sure that everyone feels included in the debate space and that everyone is given the opportunity to become better at it.

“Being debate captain I’ve learned how to be a good leader and more effective communicator for my teammates.” Price said.

She sets an example for her fellow teammates of determination and focus, as well as kindness and understanding, and hopes that she can help everyone on her team feel like they belong there.

“As a mother I am proud of all she does.” Thill said. “I love her dedication and drive to pursue her dreams. She’s strong and resilient, kind and focused.”