Why You Should Join Debate – OPINION

Nissa Molgaard Provides Step-By-Step Instructions on how to Join Debate.


Nissa Molgaard

Freshmen Sawyer Tarrell accompanies seniors Weston Hoover, Merrick O’Dette, and Ty Ostrus at a debate meeting.

Nissa Molgaard

I now open the floor for the discussion: Debate, should you join? If you are interested in arguing or persuading people, then debate may be the class or the club for you. If you are interested, Public Forums and Congress are the two types of debates offered here at Atlantic High School. 

You do not need to be in the debate class in order to try the debate club. In order to get into the debate club or debate class, you need to sign up in English teacher Katie Hedegaard’s room, which is room 308. After that, you must go talk to Spanish teacher, Trisha Niceswanger, who has been the debate advisor for nine years. When talking to Niceswanger when signing up, one must include what day and what topic they are signing up for. These topics include Public Forums and Congress. When signing up for debate, there are two accounts needed; NSDA and Tabroom. NSDA is used for finding out what the resolution for Public Forum is about. 

It is recommended by multiple debaters to start with Public Forum when you first get into debate. Public Forum is a type of debate that involves having a partner, two cases, and argument blocks.  A resolution in Public Forum is what you debate about for the month or months that you have the topic. “Resolutions can vary but they are current events that are actually happening in the world, and could potentially be impacting the students,” said Senorita Niceswanger. Public Forum can be a little nerve-wracking when you are just sitting in the room waiting for the round to start, but it can be a “fun type of stress.” Alix Nath said, “It can be an adrenaline rush during a round, but there is a lot of relief afterward.” 

If you’re looking for a solo ride of random, Congress might be the type of debate for you. Congressional debate allows debaters to create their own bills. Congress helps with spontaneous speaking because if you write a bill you are only really guaranteed one speech. The Wednesday before a Congress tournament, anyone signed up for congress gets a docket. This docket has all of the bills that can possibly be debated at the tournament. “

“Debate is a lifelong skill that will help no matter what the topic is that you’re ever discussing with somebody,” said Niceswanger. It allows debaters to learn how to correctly argue instead of just “I’m right, you’re wrong.” “I definitely feel like I really honed my speaking skills through debate,” said J. Molina. One of the most common pieces of advice that debaters new and old give and receive is don’t be afraid to try something new. The debate club and class are very supportive and are wishing for you to be successful. So for the final vote: Congress; Will you join?