Eagles debate their way into Conference

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Eagles debate their way into Conference

The debate team poses with their conference championship trophy after a perfect tournament.

The debate team poses with their conference championship trophy after a perfect tournament.

The debate team poses with their conference championship trophy after a perfect tournament.

The debate team poses with their conference championship trophy after a perfect tournament.

Tatum Thompson, Reporter

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Taft’s Novice debate team won the Blue Conference Championship at a tournament on Feb. 22 and 23 at Solorio Academy High School.

     The competitions are two-day tournaments with five rounds, and the teams with the most wins qualify for single-elimination championship rounds.  Debaters research and pair up to debate a predetermined topic and are scored by judges. Debaters can move into quarter finals, semi finals, and ultimately finals.

     Novice (beginners) duo freshmen Layan Nazzal (Div. 238) and seventh-grader Conor Mika (Div. 411) were able to complete the entire tournament without a single loss and also received recognition for their speaking skills.

     “It felt amazing and surreal [to win the conference championship],” said Nazzal. “We work so hard the whole year; this is what we wanted,” she added.

      As part of the hard work they are putting into preparing for tournaments, the team has adopted a student-led approach for their practices.

     “The kids get better by teaching each other,” said history teacher and debate coach Rachael Nicholas. Drama teacher and debate coach Jonathan Cohen explains that “Ms. Nicholas and I come in and help with strategy, we help around the edges” while the varsity members of the team handle the majority of teaching the novice members. Cohen states that “having the varsity teach the novice gets the novice involved. It also makes the varsity debaters better.”

     Senior Max Tozer (Div. 915) has been on the debate team for three years. He is now one of the captains and a varsity member. Part of his responsibility to help the beginners is to educate them on the “ins and outs” of debate and “teach them research strategies to build their own arguments.”

     With a perfect tournament completed and speaking awards granted,

Mika and Nazzal won the Blue Conference Novice Championship.

     “It is fun to crush our rivals: Von Steuben, Solorio, and Lincoln Park,” said Cohen.