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Are You Up for Debate?

Lily Deardorff, Staff Reporter

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Recent current events have caused controversy and division among Americans, leading to violence and mass protests. For someone interested in discussing these topics and more, the debate class and club provide an outlet to civilly and maturely contest your viewpoints with others.

“I’ve always been an argumentative person, so debate was something I aspired to in middle school,” junior Iman Sheikh said. “We are the future. People our age should begin to discuss the problems of our world now. I want to possibly be a lawyer or a businesswoman in the future, and debate provides the argumentative speech and persuasive skills that I’ll need.”

Debate requires a great deal of preparation before one can compete or even discuss a topic to be sure they are sufficiently equipped with the information required, especially if it a current event topic.

“I enjoy talking about foreign policy, and becoming an international politician is something that I’ve been looking into,” junior Nicole Hurst said. “I spent this year discussing U.S. diplomatic and economic policies with China. Since that is a really big topic regarding the election, it was a way for me to become informed about what’s going on in our country and be able to have an intelligent conversation about it.”

The best way to practice and prepare for competitions is to “scrimmage”, or run through practice rounds to gain experience.

“The day to day class involves the upper-level Debate II and III students engaging with the lower Debate I students because they know how competition works and are able to help them with their own personal pieces,” debate teacher Mr. Schaefer said. “We also have a club outside of school for students who are not in the class who are able to practice and learn different events to compete in.”
Debate is a class that teaches students to think outside of their own typical thought process. It requires you to look at multiple sides of a particular issue and it applies to a lot of other academic classes as well as to your professional skills.

“Part of the difficulty of a speech tournament is adapting,” Schaefer said. “Every case you do or hear have contentions and arguments you’ve never heard of before. Adapting to changing circumstances and incorporating new information into your own argument while you are debating is something I think that if the students can master, it will really take us to the next level.”

The debate students recently attended a tournament that gave them the preparation and experience needed to do even better at their UIL competition.

“Win or lose, any tournament we go to, the students do better,” Schaefer said.  “Competition gets harder as the year goes on, so not only are the students competing against harder opponents but they’re improving as well, and that just shows me that they’re growing as students and debaters.”

Students who want to learn more about presentational skills or advance their public speaking and personal skills should seriously consider taking debate in the 2017-2018 school year.

“We’d like to build the team to make it something that’s a part of Reedy and is something that continues on after we’ve left,” Hurst said. “We’ve become a close group of friends over the years and only hope for that legacy to never be forgotten.”

 

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Are You Up for Debate?