Debate Team Starts Season with Bang

By Lizaveta Slinko ’17

The debate team kicked off another competitive season on October 8, ranking first in overall sweepstakes points and amassing several top team and top speaker awards.

The prompt which was put up for deliberation was “In United State K-12 schools, the probable cause standard ought to apply to searches of students.”

Kai Brady ’18 said, “I prepared for the topic by reading about the law itself, and framing my argument on the implications of probable cause in schools, and what it would mean for students and administrators.”

According to Co- Captain Kareem Ibrahim ’18, the team conducted research on the school security system and the intricate ways in which the standards of its special environment intertwine within the law.   

The format of debate requires speakers to prepare arguments for both the affirmative and negative sides of the resolution. This is because teams are made to contend each viewpoint during the three different rounds of the tournament, so understanding the topic in its entirety is essential.

“It was a bit challenging, especially for the pro side. It was very difficult to find evidence to support probable cause besides racial discrimination,” said Emily Ng ’17. “It was also a bit overwhelming to be told which side you were supposed to argue only five minutes before you actually had to go up and debate.”

Along with the new debate year came many new debaters.

“The team was very supportive by helping the new debaters with their contentions and doing mock debates,” said Raifa Chowdhury ’18. “There was a lot of potential, motivation, and hard work seen in every speaker who participated and came to meetings, actively learning and questioning.”

Emily Ng ’17 said, “As a novice, I feel like I really worried over nothing. The day before, I had doubts about the topic overall. But in the end, I had many strong arguments and was easily able to question the legitimacy of the opposing teams’ claims, which I had ironically enough been supporting fifteen minutes ago in a prior round.”

After nights of cutting cards and writing rebuttals, the team was able to come out on top.

Kaneita Marcelin ‘18  won top novice speaker, and Kara Healy ’19 and Claudine Schwartz ’19 won first place for novice top team. Healy said, “It felt great to start off strong. We were worried because it was the first debate we’ve ever done, but in the end it was amazing.”

“I am extremely proud of the high level of commitment shown by all the members of Midwood’s debate team,” said Ms. Thomas. “The novice members blew me away with their preparedness, their in-depth research, and their eloquence. Our varsity members proved to me that we are equal or better than any other school’s debate team.”

The team members hope to continue this victorious streak in future competitions, and aim to improve their debate skills.

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