A New and Exciting Season for the Debate Team!

By Olivia Canter

The Byram Hills Debate Team is off to an exciting start with action-packed tournaments and hard work in the weeks to come! The Debate Team has undergone many new changes this year, so these upcoming months are bound to be very successful and enjoyable for the BHHS debaters.

The new Debate Director, Mr. Andriello, provides a new, organized structure to the Debate Team. In fact, the first debate tournament at Yale University from September 14th to 16th ran very smoothly, and the debaters performed at an extremely high level. Additionally, each practice, every Tuesday and Thursday, is filled with a purpose; Mr. Andriello creates a specific task for each team member, so everyone has an important role on the team. The debaters are hard at work and have loads of fun discussing the upcoming topic resolutions.  

Excitingly, the size of the debate team has skyrocketed, as many new freshmen are interested in becoming successful debaters. Freshman John Ndocaj explains the reason he  joined the Debate Team: “I like to argue.” In fact, he expresses his excitement to attend tournaments and learn about the contradicting ideas in current events. Another new freshman member, Zach Honig, also explains, “I am excited to go for my first tournament because it is what debate is all about.”

At the first practice of the year, the experienced upperclassmen split into groups with the newest members, where they introduced themselves and explained what a real round of debate entails; the freshman learned about the framework of a round, such as case reading, rebuttal, and summary. After, the groups had a Q & A session where the freshmen asked loads of questions about the debate process. Sophomore Anika Kumar explains, “I am excited to help people [new members] learn more and hopefully get better.” Along with the new coach, the guidance of the experienced debaters has created a great start for the team!

The freshmen also had to make an important choice: to go the Public Forum (PF) or Lincoln Douglas (LD) route. The first type of debate, Public Forum, involves a partnership and current events are debated. PF Debater and Apparel Director, Chloe Sampéré, explains, “I am also excited to learn more about current events and become a better debater.” On the other hand, Lincoln Douglas consists of a sole person, where they discuss the resolution in a more philosophical manner. For example, a previous topic involved the positive and negative side of civil disobedience, where debaters utilized various philosophers and morals to prove their ideas.

Proceeding this, the new debaters played King of the Hill, a classic debate game. In this game, two random topics are chosen and debated among two kids. In this instance, the freshmen debated about Italian food and Mexican food.  

The commitment and dedication of the new members were truly evident when the Debate Team completed their second assignment. The freshmen wrote a one- to two-minute speech about a previous debate resolution and delivered it to the entire team. After each speech, the upperclassmen judged their speeches and explained what the freshmen can do to improve. Both of these practices have contributed to the freshmen’s development as debaters, and we can see this hard work pay off in their tournaments.

The BHHS Debate Team is thrilled for the upcoming year which will be jam-packed with learning, fun memories, and debate tournaments. To stay updated, you can follow the BHHS Debate Team on Facebook!