Students in debate enjoy the competitive and hard-working activity

Sophomores+Parker+Breza+and+Sarah+Karels+are+two+of+the+debate+teams+dedicated+members%2C+and+they+took+first+place+for+junior+varsity+at+State.+

Chris Bell

Sophomores Parker Breza and Sarah Karels are two of the debate teams dedicated members, and they took first place for junior varsity at State.

Hannah Scherer, Kate Whitney, and Kellen Gill

Walking back to his seat after his opening statement, sophomore Parker Breza thought that his final debate at the state tournament was a loss. “I presented my statement, and then the girl on the other team came up to give hers. It was so good that I thought at that point we were done, and they would win the debate. But Sarah got up and gave a really good rebuttal, and then at that moment, I thought that we had a chance,” Breza said.

Later that day, Breza and his partner, sophomore Sarah Karels, stood in the front of the room alongside their opponents from Eastview high school, anxiously awaiting their results. “They called the two final teams up, and they announced that it was a unanimous decision. When I heard BSM, I was so relieved and excited,” Breza said.

Not only did Breza and Karels emerge victorious as first place winners in the junior varsity division, but the Benilde-St. Margaret’s team as a whole won a title as well. “Our team got second, which is the sweepstakes award. That means that we had a lot of our team members do well at state. [Freshman] Sarah Letscher and [sophomore] Patrick Hunter went to semi-finals for junior varsity, as well as [seniors]Liza Magill and Adam Bamonti for varsity [quarter-finals], and [juniors] Erin Choi and Shannon Forsythe went to octafinals for novice,” Breza said .

This is the first time in years that the debate team has had such a successful outcome. “This is the first time we’ve ever gotten a team trophy. Ms. Green implemented a new system, which gave us a lot of one-on-one time with the coaches which paid off,” Breza said.

Breza first entered the world of debate as a freshman. “I really like to be able to prove my side of an issue, and I love the adrenaline rush that you get thinking on your feet and working really hard. Debate is like a sport; it’s even more exhausting than a sport,” Breza said.

Breza, who was already interested in world events and speech, decided that debate might be the place for him. “I wanted to do something to supplement speech, and I’ve always been interested in current event issues and public speaking; it seemed like a perfect fit,” Breza said.

Karels’ competitive nature and love for arguing drove her to become part of the debate team her freshman year. “My favorite part is the adrenaline rush you get while you are debating. When you’re debating, you have to think fast and think about how you can beat your opponent. It’s so much pressure in such a short amount of time that it terrifies you, but gives you a huge rush,” Karels said.

For Breza and Karels, their success results from hard work outside of regular debate practice. Out of the five debates and twenty rounds that have occurred this year, Breza and Karels are 23-1. “We put in 4-6 hours at debate practice a week, and then we spend 10 hours at home practicing. I always say that it’s the class that I have the most homework in because I devote most of my spare time to it,” Breza said.

Karels and Breza went into the season with a clear idea of what they wanted to gain from it. “Our goal this season was to do as best as we could, hone in our skills, and show them off more. I think we met it, considering we’ve only lost one debate,” Karels said.

Successful debate teams include members who are persuasive, concise, and comfortable speaking in front of others; these skills aid team members in their classes at BSM. “You improve your public speaking and argumentation skills; I like being able to explain my opinions in a persuasive and concise way,” Breza said.

Not only do veteran members of the team succeed, but the newcomers also bring a lot to the table. “The freshman on the team are funny and keep the team lighthearted. They have a lot of talent and will be able to build throughout the rest of their high school careers,” Breza said.

Being a member of the BSM debate team requires a lot of time and effort, but the energetic team members and good-spirited, hard-working attitude make it all worth the while. “Debate is really fun. It is a lot of work, and it consumes a lot of your time. Debate is a lot of responsibility, but in the end if pays off,” senior captain Adam Bamonti said.