New Debate Club teaches argumentative skills
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Members of the Debate Club are welcomed by President Francheska Vicents and Vice President Jade Ajileye as they prepare to participate in heated discussions over controversial topics such as abortion rights.
“We don’t have any topics in particular,” Vicents said. “Every week we will do a brainstorm of popular debate topics. People can also come in with new topics they’re interested in.”
The group votes each meeting on which topics will be discussed based on the interests of the club members. In addition to popular debate topics, club members show interest in different websites, such as Procon.com, which is used to help decide which topics will be debated.
Debate Club began Feb. 17 when Vicents and Ajileye wanted to create a club that would help students develop their communication and argumentative skills.
“I realized that our school didn’t have many scholastic clubs (for) colleges like to look for academically challenging extracurriculars in their recruitment process,” Ajileye said. “Instead of waiting for someone else to build one, Francheska and I decided to be the change we wanted to see in the school and make one ourselves.”
The club meets every Thursday in club sponsor English teacher Leah Pevar’s classroom. Participants discuss matters important to them in an efficient way.
In addition, AP Language teacher Cindy Barry plans to help students learn the proper techniques of debate in the coming months.
“We want to teach students how to improve their communication skills and help them come out of their shells when it comes to speaking in front of others,” Ajileye said.
If the Debate Club flourishes like Vicents and Ajileye hope it will, an actual team may be constructed that will attend competitions next year.
“I hope the club will help me with public speaking since most of the time we have to be in an intellectual discussion with other club members,” club treasurer Ruzanna Manvelyan said. “Also, being able to argue my point is a good practice since I want to become a lawyer.”