Debate Team Argues With Style

By Cailan Yu ‘16

Building quick thinkers with strong opinions, the debate team prepares for their first tournament on October 24. Midwood is just joining other schools such as Brooklyn Technical High School and Bronx Science who had debate teams since 1969.

The members meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in room 155. The coaches, Ms. Thomas, Ms. Braithwaite-Jones, and Ms. Guardavacaro, prepare the members to deal with any rebuttal they could be faced with.

Nikolas Magloire ‘16 said, “A great deal of effort is put into what we do. We study and gather material on our own time, then during the meetings we can just practice debating.”

Preparing for each debate tournament is essential and requires an extensive amount of time and research. It is crucial to support and defend each statement they make with solid evidence. Also, they must be ready to take either a pro or con stance because on the day of the tournament, only five minutes are given to debaters to organize their thoughts and even less time is given to verbalize it.

“The team seems like it’s progressing very well. New kids join about every week or so and they get right on the ball as if it was second nature. We’re only as strong as our knowledge and numbers,” said Magloire.

This months topic is reparations being made to the descendants of slaves. There are many factors to consider such as the economy because it would require a substantial amount of money for the reparations to be made.

Teamwork is a crucial factor. Contributing ideas to one another strengthen the argument and inform other members of information that might have been neglected.

“In the beginning, students worked in pairs, but when we realized that Midwood is one team, the energy changed,” said Ms. Thomas.

Although the team may seem daunting, the club assists students for college readiness by improving skills in reasoning, argument, and research. Also, it allows students to build self-confidence in school or a future workplace. According to the New York City Urban Debate League, students who join earn higher grades than their peers, have higher attendance rates, and are more likely to test as college ready in English, Reading, Math, and Science.

“The debate team benefits students by helping their argumentative writing,” said Ms. Thomas. “Debating aligns with the common core regents exam because it asks students to argue for or against a topic while using evidence to support their position.”

Jenny Feng ’15 said, “Joining the debate team seems great because it would help anyone who is apprehensive when speaking in front of people, such as a class presentation.”

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