Passion for arguments, students participate in debate competitions

Delegates from Colonia High School pose for a picture after all the debate competitions.

Photo Credit: Scot Willams

Delegates from Colonia High School pose for a picture after all the debate competitions.

By: Misri Patel, Fall Reporter

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“Time,” says the judge in the middle of your final summary. Heart starts beating faster then you’ve ever felt. Starting to feel the nerves, and it all came true you won the debate!

Schools all around New Jersey, compete in debate competitions. This past year Colonia High School has competed in three competitions. Each debate consists a pair of two, or a solo. This club at Colonia had just started in 2015 by Anan Patel, Jujhar Singh, Jeff Seo, and Meshaal Bannerman who are currently seniors at Colonia High School. These four boys had aimed to make a change to the community of Colonia High by making it a little more challenging. With curiosity, the boys were asked why they started this club at Colonia High school? Anan Patel said, “I started this club at Colonia High School because in my 10th grade history class i grew at interest for debating and ever since I have started it.”

These debates are not only ran in New Jersey, they are ran nationally. Each debate consists of hours of prep and continuous practices. Practice makes perfect, is a term which fits perfectly under these debate competitions. First time debaters are under experienced and will often do poorly, but as they progress they will get better. Wanting to become a delegate at competitions has stages before competing. A new delegate joined debate club this year, and was asked How they felt about it?, Shivani Patel replied saying, ” I was very nervous and scared at first, but as I progressed in the competition I really enjoyed it.”

Photo Credit: Scott Williams
Students prepare before the debate competitions start.

First step is to join a club in your community or school. These clubs will keep you informed for all the upcoming debates and the debate topics. Each debate has a declared topic which is given through a public website. The debate is based off of these topics at the competition. There are two types of debates one is a public forum which is two against two. And another one is a Lincoln Douglas which is one on one. Each public forum debate is around 45 minutes, and each Lincoln Douglas debate is around 30 minutes.

The public forum debate has a format of: Flip Coin (1 opponent from team one flips coin and 1 opponent from team 2 calls heads or tails when coin is flipped) If the opponent who called for heads or tails one they get first pick of choosing to go first or second or they the pick of choosing pro or con. After the choosing process is over the debate now starts. The opponent who choose to go first, or if they got put to go first would start off with one team member starting off saying there opening speech for whatever side they had been given or chosen which is timed for four minutes. After team one’s first opponent spoke, team two’s first opponent says their opening speech for whatever side they had been given or chosen which is also times for four minutes.

Next is a crossfire between the two opponents who said the opening speeches. The crossfire is a time were opponents ask each other questions to prove their statement right to the judge which is times for three minutes and the team which started the debate always gets the first question. Following the crossfire, the rebuttals start, so the first rebuttal is the team which started first, the second opponent of team one points out statements for why their side was more of an advantage which is times for four minutes. Then, team 2 does the same, following the end of the rebuttals another crossfire is up against the two opponents who just talked but the opponent who talked first always gets the first question, which lasts three minutes.

After the second crossfire, team one’s first opponent states their final summary, where they sum up everything they have to say. Then, speaker 2 from team 2 continues with the same for four minutes each. Next, is the grand crossfire, this is where both teams get to ask each other questions to prove them selves right. Finally concluding the whole debate is a final focus by each team, the speaker who went first for the rebuttal goes first and the second speaker follows. Through out the whole debate each team has two minutes of prep time, where they are able to call it anywhere needed.

 

Speaker 1 (Team A, 1st speaker )…………………….4 min. Speaker 2 (Team B, 1st speaker)………………………4 min.

Crossfire (between speakers 1 & 2)……………..3 min.

Speaker 3 (Team A, 2nd speaker ) …………………..4 min.  Speaker 4 (Team B, 2nd speaker )……………………4 min.

Crossfire (between speakers 3 & 4)……………..3 min.

Speaker 1 Summary…………………………………………..2 min. Speaker 2 Summary…………………………………………..2 min.

Grand Crossfire (all speakers) ……………………3 min.

Speaker 3 Final Focus………………………………………..2 min. Speaker 4 Final Focus………………………………………..2 min.

Debate competitions have gotten more serious over time, Colonia High School joined in these competitions and have lead up to placing 7th by two of the four founders. As we continue this club at Colonia High School, we wish for more and more wins to eventually bring our school and students to nationals.