Debate Club Revival

Last year, the Rebel Roar had a discussion about the speech part of the forensics team here at Fairfax High School, and this year we sat down with Ms. Davids, one of the forensics team sponsors, to talk about the debate aspect. The forensics team has been here “for three years and it’ll be the second year having debate as well.” According to Ms. Davids, there are two types of debate that students compete in. “Public forum debate, which is a policy debate where it’s partners debating against another team of two, and then there’s Lincoln-Douglas debate, which is more about morals and ethics, and it’s one person debating one other person. We do the two different types of debate and the goal is to learn some research skills, public speaking skills, and argumentation skills.” Last year the debate team “took four different students to competitions and this year [they’re] just hoping to grow the program and make it bigger.” Forensics and debate have always been together “because it’s all just public speaking. The root word of ‘forensics’ is ‘forum’ which means people coming together to figure things out. Forensics is just all public speaking and underneath that we’ll have the different speech events and then the different debate events.” For this year, they hope “to get anywhere from ten to twenty students because public forum debate requires partners, so you need double the people.” Some goals they have for this year “as a competitive team, is to win some medals. Last year, two of [their] four competitors won medals, so [they’d] like to double that and have four people win medals this year.” Additionally, at their “VJSL regional tournament, [they’d like] to have some people advance from regionals to super regionals.” For anyone interested, Davids said that “debate is really for anyone who has strong opinions. If you have a strong opinion and you want to be able to voice that opinion in ways that sort of manipulate other people to share your opinion then that’s the goal of debate.” Debate club is a great place for all types of people. “It’s a really a good place for people who are nervous about public speaking and aren’t sure how to do it but want to get better at it, and a good place for people who are already good at it.” If you are interested in joining,”the team meetings… [are on] the second Thursday of every month starting in October… everything after that is scheduled individually with the people who want to compete,” and they’ll meet in Ms. Davids’ room, C122. The forensics team “will have a follow up meet just for people interested in debate on October 4th, just to get them a little bit more concrete detail.” The subjects that will be debated in October have already been given. “Public forum is going to be talking about the United Nations convention on the law of the seas and whether the US should accept that or not. Lincoln Douglas is going to be talking about whether reports have the right to support the identity of confidential sources.” The first tournaments “are in October, we have our first public forum tournament on October 13th and our Lincoln Douglas tournament on October 20th.” Ms. Davids says that in “every competition you are given a resolution, an idea to argue about, and you have to be able to argue both sides,” which means you might have to argue for a side you disagree with. However, this does not mean that this will inherently weaken your argument. “We care less about the actual opinion and more about the skills needed to argue.” Whether you’re arguing something you fully agree with or something you disagree with, it’s more about your ability to convince.” The team will “compete against schools from all over Northern Virginia, Washington D.C, and metro Maryland.” They go against “schools from all around the tri-state area, like Walt Whitman High School, Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, TJ, Lake Braddock, and Centerville.” If you are interested in joining the team or have any questions about the team, contact Ms. Davids in room C122 or email her at [email protected]