by Allison Wehrle
This past Saturday nearly 100 beginning debaters from 14 different schools across the state of Maine traveled to Lincoln Academy for a Novice Debate Tournament. Marking the true start of the debate season, which lasts into February, this tournament allows new debaters to compete against each other and receive feedback from varsity debaters who volunteered to help judge. Debaters participated in events ranging from philosophy based Lincoln-Douglas debate to Student Congress and Speech events like Dramatic Interpretation.
Reigning debate state champions, the Lincoln Academy Debate Team and its new members continued their successes at the novice tournament. Having prepared for the tournament during twice-weekly debate team practices since early September, LA students wrote speeches in favor and against topics such as autonomous medical decisions for adolescents and learned about the structure for different debate formats. Their efforts paid off in rounds where they formed rebuttals against their opponents’ arguments, and defended their own arguments with only four minutes of preparation time per round. Freshmen Paige Camp and Gus Hunt both received honorable mentions in Lincoln-Douglas debate with 3-1 records each and freshman Liam Cullina placed first in Lincoln-Douglas with a perfect record of 4-0. Senior Lucas Hill placed first in Original Oratory.
Before lunch, varsity debaters held a forum in the Dining Commons, to give novices an opportunity to ask questions about their experiences with debate. Varsity debaters recounted their first debate rounds and gave advice and tips about things they wished they had learned about debate earlier. Novice debaters were also given the opportunity to watch a parliamentary style debate between teams of three varsity debaters who prepared impromptu speeches for three possible topics. For both new and veteran debaters, Lincoln Academy’s novice debate tournament was an engaging and enjoyable way to spend a wet fall Saturday.
The Lincoln Academy Debate Team’s next event is a tournament on November 24 at Bangor High School.
Alison Wehrle is a senior at Lincoln Academy senior, where she is a Communications Intern and a member of the state-champion Debate Team.