Debate Team finishes successful season

Debate Team finishes aGiving it their all, Debate Team carries well-rounded players deserving of their positions and awards won on the varsity team.

Youthful and enthusiastic Debate Team members are eager to grow their knowledge and strive to be even better debaters than they once were.

“We did pretty good. We are a fairly young team. We had two seniors who captained us last year, and they both graduated, so our varsity team is made up of people who have had just one year of experience. I think we have one junior and the rest are sophomores and freshmen. We aren’t the most seasoned team, but we’re working on building it from the ground up. We learned so much. Watching the freshmen and our new debaters grow over the course of our six tournaments, but who you are at the first tournament compared to your skill level, then the second, the third, the fourth, the difference is insane. Watching us grow was really cool. We won a couple awards and got some nominations. It’s not as many as you know would be ideal, but that’s not entirely what matters because we’re working on getting there as a team. We improved and learned so much from each other and from other debaters from other schools. Overall, it was a good season, impressive nonetheless,” said sophomore captain Siena Pietraszak.

Under the captainship of two students, sophomore Siena Pietraszak and junior Cayman Diep, Debate Team endured practices and entered tournaments with strong leadership.

“We have two captains, Siena Pietraszak and Cayman Diep. They have been leaders. They also both do other activities. So it works well to have the two of them because they can help fill in for each other. Siena is in the play right now. Cayman is in football, so for some of the fall, he’s unavailable. Delwin Manjali is a sophomore who really cares about the team. He’s done a ton of recruiting for us and has brought new people to practice. Our three freshmen, who are very enthusiastic about debate, Catie Beachum, Adrianna Cura, and Angelle Dayag, are always so excited and they work really hard too,” said head coach Dustin Zubert.

Debate Team takes on their pursuit for victories even through the hardships of difficult debates.

“It’s not necessarily one, but it’s mostly debates about recent conflicts, like Yemen or certain civil wars. I’m not really good with political stuff, but I just debate them,” said freshman Angelle Dayag.

Debate Team is a place of hard work and dedication, but it’s also a place to open up and spend quality time with friends.

“The biggest reason was because my friends joined it. I didn’t want to be in any club at all. I thought it’d be cool,” Dayag said.

The Debate Team community overall is a very friendly and welcoming place for anyone willing to be a part of it.

“First of all, I love my team and the people on it. They’ve written some incredible debates, and overall, I love the community that we’ve formed. Secondly, I like the actual tournament aspect of speeches because I love giving them. I love working on my persuasion and writing skills, and I love getting to question other debaters during tournaments. However, I don’t like research. I don’t hate it, but it’s not my favorite,” Pietraszak said.

Debate Team may be just another extracurricular, fun course for students to take and relax from outer world conflicts, but it also builds character and helps one face them. Debate Team offers lessons and skills one could efficiently apply to real world occasions.

“I’ve gotten a lot better at researching and researching quickly and effectively, along with finding sources that are reliable and constructive. I speak with more confidence. I’ve gotten so much better at thinking and speaking on the fly because, like the mark of a good debater, you’re supposed to be able to go up there with one statistic and be able to craft a whole speech around it. Speaking on the fly with little preparation is something that I’m working on, but I think it’s gotten better in terms of having to go up and give an analysis while speaking more clearly. I’m getting more persuasive. It’s helped me a lot in preparation for my English class in terms of speaking with other people and day to day life too. And it’s helped bolster my confidence,” Pietraszak said.

The team practices to help each other improve with each debate.

“We have drilled to avoid fillers in our speech. We work on organization and how to build an argument using analysis. There’s also the research. You need to research points to help support your idea. And then there’s the practice speeches. They’re going to give a speech on this bill at the next tournament, so they’ll give the speech and then we’ll have people on the team give questions. Now they know what questions people might ask. To do something well, you need to practice. That’s kind of what we do. We prep for the research and the skills, and then we put it all together and play a scrimmage game,” Zubert said.

For any freshman or incoming students desiring a world of speech and debate, Debate Team offers a one in a kind atmosphere to flourish the abilities of its students and help them attain better knowledge of the world and prepare them for real life situations.

“I think everyone needs to be involved with something, and for some people, this is going to be the thing. There are so many skills that people develop when they join the team, like the Debate Team, and everyone’s going to need to present themselves to groups to do research to organize their thoughts. We do that in a fun and competitive way. The team is really supportive of others. So Debate Teams work, but it’s not all work. It’s really fun too,” Zubert said.