Debate Team starts semester with practices, tournaments


Photo courtesy of Dustin Zubert.

The Debate Team volunteered at Feed My Starving Children.

The Debate Team at North has started up again this semester and will continue to compete throughout the year. The team is led by Dustin Zubert and Stephanie Liverant.

So far the team has participated in one tournament. Zubert says that there are around twenty-five schools at a typical tournament.

“They’re looking for organization…They’re looking for effective delivery. They’re looking for good logical development,” Zubert said. “How will you back up your arguments in the questioning period?”

The Debate Team works during after-school practices on Wednesdays to prepare for upcoming tournaments. Stephanie Liverant describes what those practices often look like.

“We break out; we start doing research in pairs and groups. We’ll talk about what the research is and what we need to improve on. Like, do we need more quotes, more stats? What’s really happening? How do we work on analysis, and sometimes we’ll work on speaking skills as well because the other half of debate is actually delivering those features and debating with other people,” Liverant says.

To help lead the meetings and the team, Debate has captains. Cayman Diep and Siena Pietraszak are the co-captains this year.

“The main thing is there is a captains’ meeting at every tournament during the lunch time, and so either Cayman or I, he’s the other captain, he’s a junior, um one of us will go,” Pietraszak said. “Just checking in with the team, making sure everyone’s feeling comfortable and feeling prepared.”

Being captain of a team can come with responsibility, but can also be a lot of fun.

“I like being there for the Debate Team. I like being able to try to help us be as successful as we can. I like being able to encourage my teammates and give them advice from the things I’ve learned to make them feel as prepared as they possibly can going into chambers, and I just love spending time with all my friends there,” Pietraszak said.

Debate has a lot of different aspects to it. 

“I’m very impressed. Where students get to this building at 6:30 in the morning, on a Saturday morning. They’re dressed in suits and ties. And you know, girls in business formal wear,”  Zubert said. “And they’re again on the bus at 6:30 in the morning, like practicing speeches on tax policy and foreign affairs. It’s pretty impressive.”