Mustangs Welcome the New Debate Program


Photo by Natasha Shelton of Tanner Latham teaching Debate

For the past couple of years, Herriman High has been without a debate team. Luckily, this year, one of Herriman’s newest teachers has stepped up to take over the debate team in hopes to make it even better than it has ever been before.

Tanner Latham is a former teacher at Athlos Academy, a charter school located in Herriman. Latham graduated high school at Juab High located in Nephi, Utah. Latham has taught debate for nearly 7 years and found his love for debate in high school. He then went to school at Westminster where he did mock trials. Mock trial is a competition in which students simulate a real trial, which can inspire students to display legal knowledge. After graduating college at Westminster, he pursued his teaching career in debate and criminal justice and since then has spent his entire career teaching debate in multiple schools.

So what brought Mr. Latham to our school? Latham was informed of the opportunity of starting debate back up at Herriman High. He decided to join the Mustangs and has been working as the debate coach and criminal justice teacher since the beginning of 3rd quarter. In an interview, Latham says he wants to “re-create the debate program.” Since the last school he taught at was K-9th grade he decided he wanted to get back into teaching high school because of the environment. Latham says he can create a really great program here at Herriman High. He said he is “excited because it will be at the 6A [a number used to categorize high schools according to Utah High School Athletic Association] level and have a lot more kids involved since it is a public school, which gives us just that much more opportunity to make it into a very competitive event for the school.” Mr. Latham has been able to create great learning environments and debate programs in past schools and has faith he can do the same at Herriman.            

According to Latham, debate is “not just a class. There is competition as well where you learn to use all kinds of skills: public speaking skills, performing skills, research, presentation skills, and others.” To Latham, debate can be “important because it can bleed into any career path you want to take.” It shows that people know how to protect themselves, and act on a professional level. “[Competitions can be] done at the state level since it is a 6A school. We do have the opportunity to do national-level debate tournaments,” says Mr. Latham.          

Herriman High students are overall excited about the new debate class and hope to see growth in the school environment along with the new possibilities of an amazing debate program, led by a teacher dedicated to making debate a fulfilling, fun, and educational experience for Herriman High students.