Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson

Student recruited by Casper College

Full-ride scholarship given


March 27, 2019

Green River student Rachel Heisinger knew she was going to attend college, she just didn’t know where to go for sure.

Her mind changed quickly when Casper College offered her a full-ride scholarship. All she has to do to earn that two-year scholarship is compete on their speech and debate team.

“Since this will be my first year of college, I decided Casper would be a good fit for a few different reasons,” It’s relatively close to home, they have a wonderful criminal justice program, amazing debate team, and on top of it all, I will be getting to room with my best friend for the start of college,” Heisinger said.

Heisinger has been on the Green River High School Speech and Debate team throughout high school and she has qualified for nationals three times. Recently, she qualified for nationals in both Lincoln Douglas debate and Congress.

“Initially, I joined the team under the persuasion of my mom, who is the head coach,” Heisinger said. “I was a bit hesitant at first, but throughout my years as a competitor I have seen great success and I’ve loved my time in debate.” 

She might have been hesitant at first, but a passion for debate grew.

“Lincoln Douglas is definitely my favorite event. I have been in Lincoln Douglas since I was a freshman and it’s the only event I’ve actually stuck with,” she said.

Currently, Heisinger is number one in the state in Lincoln Douglas with more than 1,000 accumulated points from that event alone.

As for obtaining a scholarship for speech and debate, this wasn’t a new concept for Heisinger.

“I have always thought that there was a potential chance for me to get scholarships because of debate,” she said. “Lots of alumni I know who have been successful have gone off to do great things in college specifically because of debate. I knew that if I had success, that it was likely I would be offered at least some type of scholarship by a school. I think it’s really awesome that Casper chose me to represent their team.” 

Even though Heisinger is excited about the future, she knows her GRHS career will be in the past.

“I think I will miss having my mom as a coach the most. She is the reason I joined debate in the first place and I know if she hadn’t been the coach, it’s likely I never would have stepped foot into the realm of debate, and I’m thankful that I did,” Heisinger said. Along with that, I will miss the people that I roomed with this season. I developed some great friends I never would’ve probably interacted with if it weren’t for debate and the trips have been awesome because of them.” 

Plus, debating on the college level will also be a different experience. One of the biggest changes is Heisinger will need to compete in four or five events. Currently, she competes in two.

“It’s a lot more work and you’re expected to be able to balance the events you do,” she said.

This is something Heisinger will use as an opportunity. She wanted to compete in informative speaking and forensic science in high school, but didn’t have the opportunity.

Another significant change will be traveling. In high school, debate tournaments are in state and every single weekend. In college though, debate tournaments are often all over the country. She said there is a even a tournament called Internationals, which takes place in Berlin, Germany.

When Heisinger isn’t busy with the Casper College’s speech and debate team she will be pursuing a degree in criminal justice. After two years, she will transfer to Hilbert College, in Hamburg, N.Y., where she will major in forensic science and minor in photography.

“I initially was just going there for all four years of college, but since I was offered the scholarship with Casper, I decided my best bet was to move to Casper first to save money, while having the opportunity to participate on their team,” she said.

Heisinger is looking forward to her time on the Capser College team.

“Overall, I am extremely excited to be a part of the Casper College team. The coaching staff is phenomenal, the kids on the team are amazing at what they do and are extremely accepting of new members, and I believe that I will be a great fit for the team,” she said. “I am so thankful that I was presented with the opportunity to join their debate team and I’m looking forward to what the future will hold for me.”


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