That’s Debatable


Burke B Cochran, Asst. Editor-in-Chief

The Debate Team competed at their first major tournament the first Saturday in November. The tournament was at Fremd High School and North had three teams competing. The teams of Michael Milles (‘20), Lauren Shelton (‘19), Burke Cochran (‘19) and Johnathon Giesecke (‘19) are competing at varsity. The team of Liam Torbert (‘21) and Hailey Worthy (‘21) compete at Junior Varsity.


Previously, these teams placed at the Debate tournament held in Schaumburg High School. The team of Giesecke and Cochran placed third, with Cochran getting second place speaker, and the team of Shelton and Milles placed fourth, with Milles getting fourth place speaker.


The team of Milles and Shelton competed at the Homewood-Flossmoor tournament, the first of the season, four weeks ago and placed first.


All three Public Forum Teams have qualified to go to the NCFL tournament in Milwaukee in May. The team of Shelton and Milles took first in the qualifying division, following Cochran and Giesecke in second, and Torbert and Worthy in fourth.


The North Debate Team has high hopes for the season this year, after finishing last year with a successful run at the national tournament in Florida.


As other student’s vacations had already gotten well started, the Debate Team was still prepping for yet another tournament.


In late June, the Debate Team competed in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the National Speech and Debate Association’s National Tournament.


Five Debaters qualified for competition.  The teams of Cochran and Giesecke and Miles and Nick Altintop (‘19) qualified in the Public Forum division. Nicolas Goymerac also qualified for competition in the Lincoln Douglas division.


To qualify, teams compete at the districts tournament in March. The top three teams from each district are then invited to compete at the National Tournament. Belvidere North took half of the available spots to qualify out of all the other schools in Northern Illinois.


The competitors were in Florida for a whole week for the competition. Preliminary debates were over a span of two days. Each team debates six rounds with two judges, making a total of twelve ballots. In order to pass preliminary rounds, teams must earn a total of eight ballots or more.


After preliminary rounds, all qualifying teams move on to elimination rounds. During these rounds the records are reset and everyone is equal. The tournament simply becomes lose two rounds and then you are disqualified, until only two teams are left for the final round.


One team from North broke to elimination rounds: the team of Cochran and Giesecke in Public Forum. The team advanced until round 9 until being eliminated. At this point of the tournament, less than 50 of the almost 400 teams were still competing. Cochran is ranked first in Illinois, and Giesecke is ranked second.


The topic for the national tournament was the North American Free Trade Agreement. Teams on either side debated whether the or not the benefits outweighed the consequences. The crux of the argument on both sides was whether or not economic gain was just cause for human suffering, especially in the case of Mexico, which was much less developed and lost out on most of the benefits the other countries saw.


The teams hope to qualify again this year.