Bolstered by the new growth, Anderson said he wants to build the Capital team into a powerhouse such as traditionally strong teams from Federal Way and Gig Harbor.The students, though, are just fine.
"They've been good for a long time, but they weren't always that way," he said. "We will be that sort of program."
Anderson said that passion stems in part from his participation as a teenager on his own high school debate team. It's an experience that builds up skills students can use throughout their lifetimes, such as how to be articulate, think critically and have confidence when speaking publicly, he said.
"That is powerful," Anderson said.
Anyone can do it.
That's how Capital High School junior Joseph San Miguel described getting involved with the school's debate team.
"It's not just for people who want to be politicians or lawyers," the 17-year-old said.
"It's really fun to be part of the growth," said Gabriella Guilfoil, 14, a freshman. "I really like learning more about the world, and it's low key. It's really comfortable and open."
"There are events that play to almost anyone's strengths," said Leanne Nicholas-Monk, 16, a junior.
"If you get good at debate, you can get good at all of your assignments," said Ian Nordstrom, 16, a junior. "You can do all of your homework twice as fast."