North High Debate Team Achieves Success this School Year

Have you ever wondered what the large, golden trophies in the cabinet at the main entrance are? 

These are the Sweepstakes Awards that the North High Debate Team has won at local tournaments on Dec. 19, Jan. 23, Feb. 6 and March 13. 

The cabinet at the main entrance of North high holds the trophies that the Debate Team has won this year. (Credit: Amanda Lavian)

The Debate Team is a club that works together to research and build cases for upcoming debate tournaments. Tournaments take place at the local and national level and are sponsored by the American Debate League. 

At competitions, members of the club argue either in support of or in opposition to a given topic. Their goal is to form an argument that is more convincing and to persuade the opposing team that they are right.

This school year, the team has competed at three heavily competitive tournaments. At two of the competitions, the team placed first.

The two first place trophies that the Debate Team won stand on each side of the club’s poster. (Credit: Amanda Lavian)

The team credits their successes to the group’s dynamics and the culture of the group. The team has a welcoming and supportive atmosphere that furthers the strengths of individuals and the team.

“The team is very welcoming to new members and it’s very enjoyable to debate others and explore different sides of a story,” sophomore member Benjamin Golsaz said, speaking on the team’s recent achievements and growth to nearly 40 members. 

Josh Schoenman, a sophomore and a member of the team, reflected on his experience on the team. “The atmosphere in the debate club is very accepting of all views and provides a place for everyone to freely share their opinions in the spirit of improving everyone’s logical thought processes and sometimes even changing people’s minds,” Schoenman said. “The lighthearted nature of the club that is created by Kenneth [Xiao] and Matthew [Mah] allows and inspires everyone to absorb information more effectively.”

The team usually meets every Monday on Zoom. At these meetings, the more experienced debaters teach the other members of the team. Typically, they give the other members a topic to discuss and teach them what to do, as if they were competing at a tournament.

Members of the team agree that being on the team has improved their thinking skills and as a result they have become more astute students. “The program has transformed me into the concise, intuitive man I am today,” said Ari Greenblatt, a sophomore on the team.

Despite the challenges they have encountered due to COVID-19, the team has been able to persevere by supporting each other.” COVID has prevented us from becoming as close of a team as in the past, but we still make it work!” said Leila Hawa, a sophomore and member of the team.“ We all support and help each other succeed.”

The team expects to see far more success in the future and is ready to take home many more trophies to display in the cabinet.