By J1 Reporter Sarah Cronin
For the first time in more than 20 years, Marian has established a debate team. Speech and English teacher Halli Tripe has volunteered to be the team’s moderator and coach and has recruited fourteen students from all grades to join the team. They have been working since summer to prepare themselves for competitions.
The team started with a “boot camp” in August where they learned everything about debate. The camp covered structure of the argument, timing, the history of academic debate and how to turn all of their research and knowledge into a proper speech. They practice three to four times a week, perfecting their skills and preparing for tournaments. According to the girls, debate is like “intellectual whack-a-mole.”
“Everything they say you just have to refute it or else you lose points,” freshman Olivia Hovey said. Students prepare cases beforehand with both sides of the argument covered. Once they arrive at the tournament, they are told which side they will be defending. Every two months the topic changes, and they have to begin researching all over again. Their current subject is whether or not the public has the right to know about a politician’s privacy.
Sophomore Ellie Kripal was first approached by Tripe after she passionately argued in her literature class. “She talked to me after class and asked if I wanted to join the debate team next year and I thought sure why not!” Kripal said.
Kripal participates in the Congressional debate category. The four categories used in debate are Public Forum, Lincoln Douglass, Congressional and Policy. Public forum is made up of teams of two with 3 minute long speeches and questions asked by opposing debaters.
The Lincoln-Douglass category is named after the famed Abraham Lincoln and Frederik Douglass Debates with the goal being the most moral backing to an argument. Congressional debate is similar to a mock assembly in which competitors try to draft bills. Marian competes in all categories but Policy.
The debate team had an extremely successful first tournament on Nov. 2nd, with sophomore Eva Watson placing top speaker in the division. In Public Forum, freshman Malerie Birkel received a perfect 30 out of 30 score in one of her rounds.
At their most recent tournament, five girls placed and the team swept the Lincoln Douglass category.
“Since Marian just started it’s debate team again we don’t have any rivals, but Prep and Millard South are really good,” said junior Emily Atamov. The team will compete against high schools from all over Nebraska.
“I’m most excited for the Lincoln tournaments,” added Atamov.
With a successful start to the season and a hardworking team, Marian Debate has already made a name for itself. The team has 15 more tournaments in their future and potential district and state competitions.