Poptarts and camaraderie foster debate success

Jasper Green, The Rubicon Editor

From the wonderful snack of pop tarts, to teamwork in competitions and the goal to come home victorious, the debate team at SPA does its best to incorporate and teach new debaters how to be proficient.

“The debate culture at SPA was really inclusive for me. I came into beginning debate as a sophomore and was welcomed by both the advanced and beginning debaters.” Sophomore Jazz Ward said.

The team makes sure to teach new debaters how to become proficient in speech writing through practice.

Freshman Zach Dyar explains how if new debaters do their best to learn how to write speeches and give them, debate is not all that difficult.

“It seems like it would be really hard to do when you watch your first debate, but as you go to class and keep practicing, you figure out that when you put in the effort to learn, debate can become really easy.” Dyar said.

“It seems like it would be really hard to do when you watch your first debate, but as you go to class and keep practicing, you figure out that when you put in the effort to learn, debate can become really easy.””

— Zach Dyar

In public forum debate, which is the most common, students work together in pairs, and compete together against the opposing pair. But before all of the action of competitions, students reward themselves with an extravagant breakfast of pop tarts.

The first speaker of each team must speak on either the pro or the con side of an argument, which is determined at the competition. They read a pre-written speech, and afterwards, each team’s first speaker participates in a crossfire where they argue each other’s points by asking probing questions.

The second speaker must then come up with their speech on the spot, followed by another crossfire.

Junior Greta Sirek, an advanced debater, reflects back to when she sharted debate.

“I think it’s much harder to be the second speaker because you have to make up a four minute speech on the spot that responds to what the first speaker says. I prefer to be the first speaker because then I only have to make up a two minute summarization of my points, and I feel more prepared.” Sirek said.

The debate is then ended by summarization of points by the first speakers, a grand crossfire, and then a chance for the second speakers to argue their main points once more.

Students on the debate team are able to see many perspectives on different topics.

“In debate, you need to argue both sides of the topic, and because of this you get to see different people’s opinions on issues. By seeing both sides of the argument you become a more rounded person as a whole.” Sirek said.

Although debate adds a certain amount of stress to student’s lives, from the pressure of competition and the extra workload of preparing speeches, the debate team supports each other.  

“There are so many intelligent people in debate, and it’s a really relaxed and supportive but also serious culture. Everybody enjoys it, and it’s led by a great teacher.” Parker said.