Debating brings many benefits to those who participate in such discussion. It helps enhance analytical thinking, structuration and organization of thoughts, and skills in public speaking. Student debates allow learners to express their side and opinion on a particular topic, and just as importantly, it enables the students to learn how to compromise with others.
Members of the club have debated various topics such as gun control, the legalization of recreational marijuana, and the death penalty.
Mr. Austin Cesare, history department head, is the club advisor. However, junior Miles O’Sullivan states, “There are a few key students, such as myself, that help run the club and design rules, format, and topics.”
According to O’Sullivan, meetings usually start with a summary of the topic. Members choose a side before the day of the debate, and they research their side of the topic. On the day of the debate, the members have 15 minutes to organize and strategize their ideas, and they may do additional research.
Once this period is over, the debate officially begins. One of the non-debating teams moderates and the discussion runs for approximately 45 minutes. The winning team is announced in the end after a conference between the moderators, who grade each side based on evidence, organization, and presentation.
Junior Brendan Ziegler shares his experience as a first-year member. He says, “I enjoy the club because it gives me a chance to work on my public speaking abilities and debate topics that I’m passionate about with friends.”
The debate club provides students with an experience they don’t usually get in their typical academic classes. Participating helps improve public speaking skills and familiarizes students with putting together compelling arguments about a variety of topics.
Anyone who takes an interest in improving or displaying these skills should consider joining the Debate Club. The club meets on Thursdays at 2:15pm, and anyone is welcome to join. Students can email Mr. Cesare for a Google Meet code if interested.
Freshman Zachary Israelite says, “It is a fun experience that will be beneficial for the rest of your life.”