SWW Debaters Triumph Again

Posted on: January 22nd, 2014 by Admin

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SWW Debaters Triumph Again
by Jacob Ausubel, Debate Club Secretary

On January 11th, 2014, Walls’ debaters competed at the fourth Washington Catholic Forensic League (WACFL) tournament held at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia. Students from 21 schools in DC, Maryland, and Virginia — including students from Thomas Jefferson, Walt Whitman, Gonzaga, Georgetown Prep, McClain, Potomac, Westfield, and Our Lady of Good Counsel – competed in this event. They debated the topic: “Development assistance should be prioritized over military aid in the Sahel region of Africa.”

As always, Walls’ debaters performed admirably. In the novice division, the team of Ramella Suber and Jonathan Wood received 9th place (out of a total of 38 teams), narrowly missing out on advancing to the junior varsity level. In the junior varsity division, the team of Jacob Ausubel and Adrian Sohn received 10th place while the team of Taiwo Dosunmu and Mahler Revsine received 20th place (out of a total of 50 teams). The top scoring team, Nathan Ausubel and Brett Isaacs, won 1st place at the junior varsity level. During all future tournaments, they will be competing at the varsity level. Nathan and Brett will also be competing at the regional tournament, which will take place in March 2014. Good luck to them! Ms. Hoyte, Walls’ head coach, is also hoping that other teams can compete at the regional tournament, either by qualifying during the last regular tournament in February or by invitation from the WACFL’s administration.

As any member of the debate club would attest, debate is one of the most rewarding extra-curricular after school activities at Walls. In the words of Nathan, “debating is not just about the competition”; it also “helps people gain confidence, sharpen their public speaking skills, and pay closer attention to the news.” Adrian observes: “Debate can completely change the way you think about or view certain issues. When we start forming our contentions, it always seems at first that one side of the argument is stronger because it is the ‘right’ one that more people agree with. Yet after discussing the topic in detail with the team and doing research on the topic, I often find that I am not sure anymore with which side I agree more or that I have even completely changed my opinion.” Taiwo adds: “Debate completely changes the way one thinks on their feet, and speaks with composure. After being able to stand up to three minutes of tough questioning in cross-fire, or turn an opponent’s contentions inside out in rebuttal, one will approach every new argument or speech, in debate or real life, with new skills and new confidence.” In my opinion, debate has a transformative effect on people. At the beginning of 10th grade when I joined the team, I was a shy and introverted individual, nervous about participating during class discussions. Over time, I have become a more confident speaker, more likely to act assertively during debate crossfires, and less likely to become nervous when delivering class presentations. In short, debate is both a fun and beneficial activity.

Membership in Walls’ debate club is open to all students. The only requirements are a desire to work hard before each tournament and a desire to beat other teams. It is worth noting that not all new debaters joined in freshman year. In fact, many members of the current debate team joined during their sophomore or junior year, and others have joined in their senior year. In short, debate is one of the best activities offered by the school.