By Anna Griffin
The SVHS debate team has been very successful this year in tournaments, in places such as USC and locations across California, Laynie Stephens and Kara Flageolett qualified for Nationals in June, at their latest tournament, and Luz Lopez and Lani Frazier won an alternate slot in the Nationals! They have come very far, after long and hard work, and are honored to participate and compete alongside their fellow debaters at SV.
The Onlooker had the opportunity to interview one of the debate team members, sophomore Josh Martin. He participates in Debate II, and has officially been on the circuit for a year, although he was interested in debate towards the end of his freshman year. The idea of being on a nationally ranked debate team is an honor, Josh says, “It’s amazing- it’s so great that a school of our size can match up to and even beat schools many times our size. It’s a great way to get recognized for your work.” Josh has participated in 8 tournaments, and has gone to 1 camp. He enjoys debate immensely, being one of his favorite things. “It just fits me- I like the mental challenge, the logical reasoning, the information, and especially the community.” The expectations that Josh, and many others on the team had, had been correct. Debate requires hard work, but fun in return. The preparation for a large tournament for Josh consists of 10 hours of reorganizing and writing new files, and preparing to answer new arguments for the tournament at hand. He also does speaking drills and other exercises to increase his speed and speaking talent. As far as acquired knowledge from the rules of debate, he has obviously learned a lot of things about the topic the team debates, but aside from that, he has gotten a lot more self-confidence in many areas of his life, along with speaking, and to see both sides of an issue. When asked his favorite thing about debate, Josh responded, “The one moment where you hear something and realize, ‘I can beat this. I’m going to win.’ It’s the best rush of adrenaline you can get outside of physical activity.” Josh responded to the challenges that he faces, remarking, “It’s tough sometimes to commit yourself to the busywork side of preparation, but it’s worth it. The toughest is when you lose something that you didn’t deserve to lose- sometimes you feel like you want to quit then and there, but I always end up thanking myself that I stayed.”
“Why did I join debate? Because I love to be right. Not really, though it’s fun. All the reasons I’ve already stated- the community, the learning, the fun, the college credit, and because Ms. McClay roped me in, so I didn’t have a choice anyway. Did I mention that it’s really fun?” “If anyone can prove to me why they shouldn’t be in debate, then they’re good enough that we need them on the squad. But seriously, it’s just fun. You meet so many amazing people, learn amazing things, and have incredible experiences. Besides, it looks great for college. And the thing about debate is, if you think you might be good at it, you probably can be.” There you have it; clearly the positives outweigh the negatives in the case of the debate team. Debate is an incredible opportunity offered to every student at SV. There are many reasons to join, you just need to find your take on it, either to become acquainted with and learn the topic, to argue with someone, civilized of course, to defend something you become passionate about, whatever side you look at this opportunity, take it.