The recent Belmont Hill Oregon-Style debate on April 12 , involving 23 four-person teams and 8 schools, was the capstone event for the debate team, which has attended several debates over the course of this year. One of the organizers for the debate, George Hu, said, “I’m really proud of how everyone worked together, despite some planning disasters by the other schools in the debate. Although we faced numerous cancellations by other schools, everyone, debaters, judges, tab runners, chefs, and organizers alike, worked together marvelously to run the event to perfection,” commenting on some of the challenges the team faced as a few of the teams which had signed up previously could not make it on the day of the debate, forcing the schedule to be re-done on short notice.
The topic of the debate, whether or not the US should adopt President Obama’s proposal for universal community college, came from a long topic-selection process carried out by the debate team in its weekly meetings. The meetings are usually on Tuesdays at 2:15 in Dr. Tift’s room, though meetings have ended for the year since there are no more debates in the DANEIS league for the 2014-2015 academic year. Members of the team prepared for one side of the debate, either affirmative or negative. Once each team had prepared its arguments and gotten to the debate, they presented their cases in time-constrained, structured speeches, and then asked cross-examination questions of their opponents.
Belmont Hill sent two four-person teams to its own debate, down from the four which the team sent to Andover, since many people who would have been debating were helping out with planning for the debate. The teams did fairly well, considering that the debaters also helped organize the debate. When asked about his team’s performance, debate team head Alex Czarnecki said, “I think the debate team did a good job and put in a lot of work. Public speaking is a good skill to develop, and debate helps a lot in that regard.” Overall, the debate team has had a successful year, with several events and a marked increase in membership.