by Kevin Chiu
On Sunday, March 15th, 2015, Tech Debate added seven new trophies to their plethora of awards. The team had semifinalists as best novel competitors and placed first in both junior varsity and state championships.
Under the guidance of coaches Adam Stevens, James Bathurst, Andrew Geathers, and Aubrey Semple, the twenty-two member team train every other day in school. They undergo practice rounds with intense speaking drills.
Sadia Ahmad ’15 comments, “[Debate] is very important. It helps people speak for themselves. It allows you to share your opinions openly, and you can learn how to use what you know to your advantage.”
Each member brings a unique perspective to the team. While some members who are well-informed on given topics provide lectures to the team, all members are required to do extensive research and prepare in their own ways.
Fariha Rahman’18, a rookie debater, says, “[Debate] provides people with a wider view on the world. They are pushed out of their comfort zone.”
According to Austin Halper’16, “People learn to be more persuasive, articulate, and confident, allowing [them] to develop their analytical skills to become intelligent individuals.”
Earlier on in the year, over Presidents’ Day Weekend, the team made great strides at the Harvard Debate Invitational. Three of the groups in junior varsity policy debate advanced into eliminations rounds, while the duo of Dante de Blasio’15 and Samuel Eluto’16 advanced to the sweet sixteen in varsity policy debate, earning an invite to the Tournament of Champions at the University of Kentucky in late April.
With their victories at Harvard and state championships, the team has now focused their attention towards the city championships, where they are slated to debate Obama’s two-year free community college policy initiative.
Adam Stevens, history teacher and coach cautioned the members, saying, “You’ll need to be convincing and have a hot-shot argument, or else you won’t make the cut.”
In agreement with Stevens, James Bathurst, math teacher and coach, urged the team to avoid being hypocritical. “Everyone has been on this debate for years. They have put hours and hours into this, [so] absolutely no jargon! I don’t want you to be a representative of this team if you can’t follow these rules.”
De Blasio’15 advised the team to be specific in their argumentation. “Be careful making broad claims about school education. It’s not effective.”
Kadiatou Barry’18, joked, “Say ‘con’ whenever they go ‘pro’ and just wing it.”
Despite the stress on argumentation and rules, members of the team say that they enjoy debating and are very happy with the team. When asked to rate their experiences from competing and being on the team, many responded,” ten out of ten,” while some went beyond, saying “thirty out of ten!”