The door to classroom 2227, Mr. Levy’s haven on a typical day, now opened to host one of October’s Novice Public Forum debate rounds.
Participants of the last round filed out, chatting about this and that and winding down from the debate. The next competitors entered, balancing binders and laptops, sizing up the judge just as he assessed them. The door closed and the round began.
Scenes like this were commonplace on Saturday the 26th of October as many schools from around the area came to West Side for a debate tournament.
Debaters participated in events ranging from Public Forum debates to Policy to Congress and Lincoln-Douglas rounds. West Siders placed competitively, taking first in 3 of 8 categories–Novice Policy, Novice Public Forum, and Varsity Public Forum. West Siders also took 4 2nd place positions and 1 3rd place position.
Debate coach Mr. Smith said, “I was very happy. Our team fared pretty well.”
The amount of effort it takes to compete in a debate meet is more than meets the eye. For one thing, there’s individual preparation. Seba Kaakeh, ’16, said that she spends “all night before the round, and 40-45 minutes a day” studying and preparing for either side of her topics. The families get involved, too. “I need parent volunteers to judge,” Smith said. “Typically, for every four students I provide one judge. We also used parents for our food service, for our concessions and hospitality.” In addition to the behind-the-scenes work, the day itself is no small endeavor.
Competing against schools such as Munster and Valparaiso, West Siders were on the go from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm. But evidently, it’s worth the effort. In fact, according to Mr. Smith, when he asked them what they wanted out of the debate meet, “They said they wanted more debate!” Fortunately for them, more debate is around the corner; the season has just begun.