Debate team returns once again this year to compete across the state

Radhika Desai, News Editor

For the past five years the debate team at the high school has been a running club teaching students how to craft arguments. This year the club has been updated and is now more active than ever in monthly tournaments and weekly meetings. The team provides a variety of topics for the members to argue on and analyze.

“The overall goal of debate is just to become more educated students that can participate in social discourse at a higher level. It is to simply allow everyone to understand how people think and the best ways to think around problems in order to create more opportunities for yourself to solve those problems. Another huge goal of the Debate Team is to create a safe and inclusive space for people to discuss and defend their opinions free from judgement. We are always looking for more people to join and bring their own unique viewpoints to our discussions,” club officer junior Akshaj Ganta said.

The team competes in statewide tournaments each month with Connecticut Debate Association (CDA) format throughout the year which lead to more complex competitions in April or May. The main objective helps teach members to transform their language into more common, sophisticated debate strategies. During club meetings lessons and activities are conducted to practice argument formation.

“We usually come up with a lesson and a few activities to run through that will help students to practice creating arguments, public speaking, delivering speeches, thinking on the fly, coming up with rebuttals, etc. So we come up with a brief lesson, usually interactive, where all the arguments and all of the topics for the lesson will be generated by the team,” club captain Edward Malakh said. 

Meetings are normally student-led that teach various debate skills and create a time to hone those skills. Students can also come with no prior experience and learn how to improve their oration skills.

As the coach my primary role is to work with the club leadership to plan activities and events. The team’s student leaders run the meetings and help to provide structure to the club while also using their years of debate experience to help all of the debaters improve,” club advisor James Dinnan said. 

They aim to refine their abilities in conversations as well as general essay writing in class. As for their goals for the future, the team hopes to expand their competitions to a larger scale and participate in bigger events.