By Nathan McIvor
On Monday, March 20th, in the Alumni Dining Commons, the Lincoln Academy Debate Team hosted a banquet where twenty-two members were inducted into the National Speech and Debate Association’s honor Society. The event also commemorated the efforts of the debate team as a whole, with Coach Matthew Leland, demonstrating pride in his team’s work saying “I’m happy with the effort the competitors put into their cases. They give up around ten Saturdays out of the school year to participate in all day competitions that are physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. They know that they are either prepared or doomed. This drives them to levels of effort that I really want to see in all students”
The honor society recognizes student debaters in good standing after they have earned a requisite number of points; graduating seniors and departing international students received pins and certificates acknowledging their status. Felix Fischer of Germany, Anne Jensdetter of Denmark, and Hindley Wang of China achieved the rank of excellence and received sapphire pins representing their status. Nathan McIvor of Jefferson, holds the rank of honor and earned an emerald pin.
“I’m sure they are leaving Lincoln more prepared for college and more confident in whatever they attempt to do,” said Leland.
The event’s keynote speaker, Lewis Burleigh, class of 1958, delivered a humorous and heartfelt oration for the assembled students and parents. “Debate helps you, whether teaching a class or presenting to a boardroom, with communication skills.” Burleigh, who graduated from Harvard College and Law School, respectively, noted how participation throughout high school and college aided him in practicing corporate law over a forty-year career, Mr. Burleigh also sits on the board of directors for the Boston Public Library Foundation.
In his commentary, he noted how, when representing the U.S. in a United Nations meeting, the negotiations with Canada became tedious when a small document error prevented the two from resolving the issue. Being a room of full of young men, they decided to decide the matter in a snowball fight. “I learned, he said, not to challenge Canadians to a snowball fight.”
Concluding the event, debate team Captain Hannah Davis thanked Mr. Leland for being a “really awesome” coach and gave him a restaurant gift card purchased with help from the team. Next year’s debate season begins in September.
Nathan McIvor is a senior at Lincoln Academy and an intern in the LA Communications Office.