In their very first tournament of the year, LP’s novice debate team won second place against Ogden High School. In November, they won first place at their finals at their second tournament.
Debate – it’s a debatable topic. Do we really know what it is?
Debate is a cooperative sport. In this case, students must work together in order to work out their plan, argument, and persuade the judges to win. There are two students per team – one takes notes when the other is speaking and vice versa.
It is also a game of strategies. In order to prepare for a tournament, each member must read over the team’s plan, look over the argument, and most importantly, know the rules of the game.
During competitions, the pair, against another team from another school, sits in front of a judge’s table and they battle it out. The students are judged on the matter of their argument, how well they present it, and how persuasive they are.
Both teams are assigned an argument and a stance to take.
In order to debate, you have to be able to speak the lingo. As Khushi Chaudhary, a freshman student on the team, has described it, learning to debate is “like learning a different language.”
You may be given the position of “affirmative” — also known as “aff.” That means you are responsible for proposing and defending a specific statement.
The affirmative is the first to give a constructive speech, a very thorough summary of what is going on with the statement being proposed, that lasts eight minutes long. When you are “negative” you are challenging and attacking what the opposing side is claiming, discrediting the plan proposed by the affirmative.
So when someone says, “there’s an aff for that,” “aff” abbreviating for affirmative, it means there is an argument for everything. Essentially, the two teams are tearing the other’s argument apart.
Generally, the beginners are still trying to figure out different ways to improve their skills, but because of that, everyone is on a level playing field of being a little nervous and lost.
Juhui Jin, a freshman student who is just starting out, said the debate team is a serious commitment. It requires you to set aside some time, and put in a load of effort, but it’s also a game.
A little advice from Ms. Cole, the debate coach, is to be confident. There are many learning curves to get around, so to do your best is the only option. The novice team, according to Khushi, says their motto is “fake it until you make it!”
The team meets twice a week. In these meetings, they talk about the logistics and how to prepare and practice for upcoming tournaments.
They have three more tournaments to go to this year, and their next one is in January. Even if you are not on the team, you can still go out and support the team. They will also have tournaments in February and April.
Come and support your classmates. Go Lions!