Debate challenges its members

Ruby Ford, Staff Writer

With confident public speaking abilities and a constant knowledge of current events, the debate team is off to a great start for the season. Led by Ms. Kathy Green, the debate team consists of 31 members, ranging from seventh to twelfth grade, all with a mutual passion for a little healthy argumentation.

BSM’s debate team is far from chaotic––the members constantly work together to create the best arguments they can. “They are debaters. They like to argue because they have their opinions. But usually, we are a very collaborative group. Students have to debate both sides, affirmative and negative,” said Ms. Green.

Debate showcases the participants’ ability to understand and analyze very relevant global issues. Formerly, debate was led by Mr. Tom Backen, Ms. Anna Overbo, Mrs. Kari Koshiol and Mrs. Paula Leider, but last year was taken over by Ms. Green, who is also a speech coach. Following the shift in leadership for the debate team, some changes were made to further improve the club for its students. “We switched to the Classic Debate format which is more fun for students. They seem to like it,” said Ms. Green.

To participate in tournaments, students have to find time to practice in addition to the scheduled team practices. “[We practice a] minimum [of] every Monday and one other hour per week. To do well you need to put in more than that. There is a direct correlation with the time you invest in it, as is the same with many other things,” said Ms. Green.

Being a high school event for over a century, debate tournaments often have over twenty schools competing with each present student debating four rounds. “There are three [tournaments] in October, three in November, and State is in December,” said Ms. Green.

Debating is a unique activity, requiring skills that can set students apart from others. “It helps if they are good at analyzing information and are okay with speaking, but they can start with nothing. A genuine interest is something they need to have, [as well as] being open minded and willing to learn [new] information,” said Ms. Green

Not only does debate help students gain knowledge of the world around us, but it helps students learn to think on both sides of an issue. “Our current topic is [resolved], the United States should assertively promote a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and [last year] we debated China and illegal immigration,” said Ms. Green.