The McDowell Speech and Debate Team on Tuesday night celebrated their season with their annual banquet.
The banquet is a chance for students to celebrate the numerous accomplishments each has achieved throughout the year.
Nikitha Rai, a senior on the team, said they've be consecutively qualifying for states an over the past two years, 42 members of the team have qualified for states.
But, as we've been reporting, the team's traveling expenses may no longer be funded by the Millcreek Township School Board. They have a $8.8 million budget deficit and to balance, the board is considering cutting field trips. Right now, the Speech and Debate Team's competitions are considered field trips.
Students and parents don't agree. They say it isn't fair to classify their competitions a field trip, and no other competitive teams.
"We should be considered a competitive sport just like football because we put in so much work," said Rai. "Brain power, memorizing things, learning how to argue, learning how to prove a point effectively is just as important as weight lifting, and running, and bulking up for sports."
"Just as it is with the football team, if there's not money for the football team to travel, they don't compete. And these students need to travel to compete," said Marlene Kloss, a mother of a team member. "My son qualified for the Tournament of Champions and he can't travel because of the budget."
The board has said numerous times, no decision has officially been made. A preliminary budget must be passed by May.