By Abeer Naeem ’17
Hundreds of students filled the classrooms, ready to argue for the annual Brooklyn Debate Championship at Midwood High School.
Participants from all over the city spoke about income inequality and how to end poverty in the society. Individuals from each school were given the topic a month in advance in order to better prepare for the competition.
Midwood hosted the Borough championship for the first time since it was the only school available on that specific date.
Ms. Suzanne Thomas, the Debate Team coordinator stated that she was proud that the students had a competition at their home school before the season ended because students were more comfortable in a familiar environment.
Debaters took advantage of this unique opportunity by placing and winning awards. Lizaveta Slinko’17 and Irla Belli’16 represented the Hornets by earning a High School Speaker Award. However, these two individuals were not the only ones recognized for their hard work. Jacob Kapustin ’18 and Nikolas Magloire ’16 were named one of the Brooklyn Borough Top Seeded High School teams. This was possible under the supervision of the advisors Ms. Suzanne Thomas, Ms. Billie Jones Braithwaite, and Ms. Maria Guardavaccaro.
In order to dominate the competition students had to work long, hard hours for weeks. They were required to build a foundation of research and dissect the meaning of every possible piece of information obtained.
Sabrina Khahimova ’17 did a lot of the research at home and after school to be better prepared during practices when the team has mock debates.
The hard work and diligence put into this academic championship proved to be worth it as participants gained recognition for their speaking skills.
“I was extremely proud of myself for winning fourth place. I felt that this was a good conclusion for the debate season and cannot wait to see what my team has to prove next year,” said Lizaveta Slinko ’17.
Valery Gromova ’17 was among the many students who had come to participate in this exclusive tournament.
“This was an amazing learning experience for me because I learned how to grow both intellectually and as a person.” Gromova’17 is not the only individual who felt that this debate was beneficial; Slinko’17 believes that she improved as a fluent speaker and could get her point across more effectively.
Slinko’17 stated, “You’re always trying to improve your debate skills as there are different topics to argue all the time.”
Ms. Guardavaccaro agrees with Slinko’17. She said, “Debate provides an analysis of real issues to be able to describe the impact on society.” Students are encouraged to join this team to improve their speaking skills, to learn research skills, and to become a team player.
Ms. Thomas stated, “Debate is an academic competition and for a school that has some of the brightest minds in the city, a chance to partake both socially and intellectually is amazing.”
The advisors believe that the debate team is equivalent to a sports team in terms of dedication and work ethic; instead of physical labor, students must use their wits and intelligence to strive for greatness.
Midwood students plan to get work done earlier for next year and to once again dominate in the championship. Debate is a sport of the mind that expands the intelligence and social skills which are used throughout everyday life.