By Lizaveta Slinko ’17
Murmurs permeated the cafeteria of Maspeth High School as the attending debate teams prepared their arguments. The chatter was especially prominent among Midwood’s debaters, as it was their first competition since the clubs establishment this year.
“Let’s do our best and figure out how this process works,” said Zain Chamoun ’16 in encouragement to the fledgling group.
Students were inexperienced in competitive debate; however, they refused to allow nerves to affect their performance in pre-debate rehearsals.
Irla Belli ’16 exclaimed “We shall conquer this debate or die trying.”
With their contentions fully developed and ready to be fired, the debate team progressed to challenge a variety of other high schools including Bronx Science and Maspeth.
There were three rounds for each team to argue their positions on African American reparations, with short breaks in between to strategize and discuss further claims. Neither side was aware of their assigned viewpoint until the beginning of the debate; therefore, arguments for both perspectives were considered before engaging in the verbal crossfire.
Upon returning from a victorious round, Tim Samadov’18 stated, “It was a very stressful yet emotional experience.” The group was proud of their presentation, and agreed to work harder in the future to secure higher scores despite earning fourth place.
Bart Rosencweig ’16 stated, “We’re going to try really hard to win the next round.” Isbah Nasir ’17 agreed and stated, “we will learn to speak without stuttering, and with more passion.”
The strive to become better debaters is precisely what debate coach Mrs. Thomas hoped to inspire in students when she formed the school’s team. She said “people argue but don’t argue with a point, they argue based on opinion”.
The skills necessary to form fact based arguments and to be able to reinforce them are becoming more prominent in the common core, and acquiring them is now becoming more essential in the school’s curriculum as a result. Those who participate in this group are working on developing such abilities for future use in the academic field, and shall continue to employ them in their future competitions.
Mrs. Thomas stated, “I’m very proud; I’d like to see where it goes.”