Debate Queen Alexis Wagenfeld

Alexis Wagenfeld was chosen as one of the most influential students attending Blaine High School.


As sophomore Alexis Wagenfeld walks into her debate round, she appears disorganized and disheveled. She drops her things, and papers fly all over the place. To her opponent, it appears that she will be an easy win.

But when Alexis begins to speak, all of their hopes vanish. Of course, she has created her misleading facade on purpose, and she is anything but an easy win.

Alexis has competed in five different debate categories, Lincoln-Douglass being her specialty. This year, she placed among the top ten JV debaters, and as a varsity competitor, she placed first in her section, qualifying for the state tournament.

This only a glimpse of her many achievements. As part of BPA, she qualified for the national competition for the second year in a row by placing first in her Individual Economic Research event at state.

In school, Alexis is a member of the CEMS program, as a part of a new generation of pioneering women scientists and engineers in a field dominated by men. Alexis is part of the effort to help bridge the gender gap in science, engineering, and mathematics by being a passionate and successful student in the CEMS program.

However, Alexis has also heard comments like: “You are the most intelligent girl I know.” She offers an explanation: “Although many of my male friends have appreciated and enjoyed my contributions, many have seen my femininity before my ability. I feel that being a fairly high-achieving female student in a male-dominated program, I have probably intimidated a few boys. It’s natural in a program and field dominated by them.”

But nothing can phase Alexis from reaching for higher goals. She says, “My friends have helped motivate me to take every win and loss in stride.”

After high school, Alexis aspires to go to the University of Wisconsin and pursue a degree in Computer engineering, bioengineering, or chemical engineering.

In the far future, Alexis has ambitions to become both an engineer and a teacher. She says, “There is currently a shortage of educators who are both passionate and creative enough to deliver truly engaging and relevant instruction, which is why students are often so disenchanted with school. Engineering courses deliver fundamental skills with little explanation of their practical application and even less discussion of their negative implications for the real world.” Alexis would like to change the current system of learning and inspire many students to pursue engineering by helping to close the “gap between engineering and social consciousness.”

Alexis would also like to become an activist. She aspires to “advocate for climate change mitigation and conservation,” and invest in “educational structures and policies that provide diversity not only of culture but also of thought and opinion.” Through activism, she hopes to influence and change the mindset of people in positions of power.

Alexis isn’t an annoying “know-it-all.” With influence from her Speech and Debate coaches and friends that surround her, she says that they have helped her become “more compassionate and tolerant within and outside a competitive environment.”

Alexis is a member of NHS and BIA, and she avidly participates in volunteering opportunities in and out of school, throughout the year. She selflessly volunteers at her local library every week, and tutors every Thursday at Bengal junction after school. She gives struggling peers a helping hand with their work and positively influences them to become more diligent and organized students.

Alexis leads by example. It’s a model for everyone around her, and it encourages them to have proper time management, study frequently, helps eliminate distractions and become more dedicated and hardworking.

She has organized study groups with her friends, at the same time helping them manage stress from activities, sports, and homework and projects from AP and honors classes.

Alexis also provides needed support for novices or new competitors in Debate. She shows them how to view obstacles in a positive way, like In her debate rounds. When her competitor underestimates her at a first glance, she doesn’t get discouraged but rather uses it to her advantage.
In Debate, and everywhere she goes, Alexis is a role model for her teammates; she says, “My teammates look up to me as someone who is not only experienced but also genuinely enthusiastic and passionate about my own activities.”


Photo courtesy of Mr. Thul, Speech and Debate Coach.