The current reality for debate teams

The debate team has been doing well despite doing tournaments virtually.

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The debate team has been doing well despite doing tournaments virtually.

Lathan Pearce, Staff Writer

The COVID-19 pandemic has had many effects on how debate teams have to operate.  The debate team has had to do all of their tournaments virtually this year. It has made the tournament process more difficult because they are not able to debate face-to-face with their opponents. Speeches are pre-recorded days before the competition and the actual debating is done through a screen. 

“We are hopeful we will have in-person tournaments this year,” debate coach Emily Busey said.

The debate team is still hopeful that they’ll be able to compete in person sometime this year, but until further notice, they are still left to compete virtually. This hasn’t stopped them though. At their last virtual tournament held by Edmond North High School, they had a great performance. 

The first day of the tournament is when the debate rounds began and it went into the night, and they do virtually with only the team here at Memorial.  On the second day of the tournament, the debate elimination rounds begin and all speeches events are actually held Saturday, and they do all of these from home. 

Many of the debaters placed very high in their events. Chase Cone and Leila DeBee placed fourth in the Advanced Public Forum, Anya Thompson qualified for Regionals in Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking and Blake Hart came in fourth place in Qualifying Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking. This is an event where students give a speech, so under the new guidelines, they had to pre-record them.

Anderson Bell and his partner Nathan Carrabbia, who were new to the debate team placed first in the Novice Public Forum. They debated whether or not NATO should put more troops or equipment into the Baltic states, and they usually ended up arguing against it. However, they prepared arguments for both sides because in debate tournaments you are asked to be ready to debate either side. Bell not only came in first in the Novice Public Forms but also placed first in Novice Combined Extemporaneous Speaking.

Even through not being able to have face-to-face meets, the debate team isn’t slowing down. As much as they want to get back to in-person tournaments, they’ll be prepared to do their best whether it’s virtual or in person.

Contact Lathan Pearce at [email protected]