Debate continues successful competitive season


Anna Hulstedt, Reporter

The Debate team at Belvidere North has been participating in a variety of different tournaments around the state, qualifying for larger events later in the school year. Burke Cochran (‘19), Jonathan Giesecke (‘19), and Nick Goymerac (‘19) qualified for the Grand Nationals at their past tournament two weekends ago at Carl Sandburg High School.

The Grand Nationals Debate Tournament will be held in Washington DC during Memorial Day weekend. Qualifying students debated about developmental assistance with other countries and gun control laws. Debate topics generally relate to current events and issues faced in today’s world.

One of the very challenging tournaments North goes to is the Glenbrooks, where teams compete nationally around the Chicago area. The tournament was this past weekend. The top 16 teams from this tournament earn the opportunity to attend the Tournament of Champions in Kentucky. North teams didn’t place the tournament, but several individuals will be competing in the Silver division this spring. The next tournament will be on December 9th at Fenwick High School.

“It was a really fun experience, I had a good time with the team,” said Micheal Milles (‘20), a member of the debate team this year.

The IHSA State Finals is another important debate tournament coming up during March at the University of Illinois. Last year, North was able to bring four groups of two people to debate. Cochran and Bridgett Harris (‘18) placed fifth at the state finals, debating about the Israel and Palestine solution.

There are several types of debate that utilize different techniques and debating styles, including Policy, Congress, Lincoln-Douglas, and Public Forum Debate.

Policy debate is where teams of two debate over topics that typically involve a policy change by the United States federal government. One team presents a proposal for how to fix the issue, while the opposing team explains why that solution isn’t appropriate. The topic for policy debate changes annually, so students have a lot of time to put forth extensive research for their proposal.

Lincoln-Douglas debate is named after the presidential debates of 1858 when Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas had long arguments about the ethics of slavery during the time of the civil war. This debate is a one-on-one format focused on ethics; the best debater, determined by the judge, is considered the winner.

Congress Debate simulates the debates of the US legislature. Students come up with bills, or proposals to help with the issues, and then they are voted upon by the chamber, a group of 10 to 25 students.

In addition, Public Forum debate focuses on current events that can vary greatly throughout the season. Students work in pairs, and the winners of the coin toss prior to the debate choose if they want PRO or CON for the debate, and the other team gets the remaining option. This form of debate is focused mainly on persuasion and having good teamwork.

It’s no debate, however, that the debate team is continuing to work hard and do their best at their competitions.