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It's ALL Up for DEBATE

Hunter Kotronakis

Columns Editor

There aren’t many classes in high school that begin every day with a call-and-response song to get everyone’s vocal cords warmed up, but debate is one of them. What makes the debate team even more interesting is that they can go from reciting this fun, full-body exercise to firm, passionate arguments in a matter of minutes.

“‘Princess Pat’ is one of the many warm-ups we do at the beginning of class to get everyone in the right mindset,” Debate Captain Stephen Garza said. “It involves singing and doing the physical motions to go along with it. You can be very expressive in this class, and I think that’s part of the fun of it.”

Garza has been doing debate for one year, and he believes the current members of the team are a great foundation for years to come.

“Debate is going pretty well this year,” Garza said. “We have more people this year, we’re doing Lincoln-Douglas debates for the first time in a while, and we have some people that can do interpretive speaking next year when the seniors leave. Even though we couldn’t go to the December UIL meet, I think our first meet in January went alright.”

Another member of the debate team, sophomore Jorge Villanueva, had never taken any kind of debate class before now, and enjoys this one wholeheartedly.

“It’s been great so far, Ms. Daniels has helped me a lot and I appreciate her a lot because I never would have been able to debate at this level if it weren’t for her,” Villanueva said. “I always kind of knew I was good, but never once did I think I’d be this good. It was even a bit nerve-wracking near the beginning but I’ve gotten really into it.”

Villanueva might display exemplary skills in formal debates, but he also has observed improvements to his life and ability to speak with others outside the ring.

“Something I’ve learned about debate in general is that you have to understand both sides,” he said. “I personally am the type of person that likes to argue - and win - and being in the class, Daniels has really helped me explain my viewpoints to others without offending people or hurting their feelings. I’ve learned that it’s important to understand your opponent, too, so you can better attack them or defend yourself.”

Learning how to debate in an effective way can be very difficult for people just starting out, and not everyone possesses the talent needed to make it right away. That’s why it’s important to keep an open mind and to never give up.

“I wanted to do interp when I first started and I didn’t get to, I got put in extemporaneous speaking,” Debate Captain Stephen Garza said. “But I kept trying harder and harder and now I’m good at it - so good that Ms. Daniels put me on the interp team and I can participate in events for it. Don’t ever get your head down if you want to do something and you don’t immediately get to.”

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