Lauren ’12 has debated in at least 50 debate tournaments, won over 30 debate awards and written and memorized a seven minute speech in 20 minutes flat. What she hadn’t done until last month, however, was debate against teams from over 50 countries.
Lauren, who has been debating for Marlborough since 7th Grade, traveled on Jan. 26 to Istanbul, Turkey as a member of the US National Debate Team to compete in the World Schools Debating Championship.
Lauren joined the US National Debate Team this year after an application process and auditions that entailed giving three speeches and writing an essay. Upper School Debate Coach John Kochian said that Lauren’s willingness to try a variety of debating styles has contributed to her success.
“She’s just a good little speaker. She’s willing to throw her hat in a variety of rings,” Kochian said.
Teammate Luke Holthouse, a sophomore at Harvard-Westlake, said that as first speaker, Lauren is able to think quickly when responding to opponents and keeps the team on task.
“Not only is she very organized at getting together all of the arguments that we need to make, but she’s very good at articulating them and putting them out on the table,” Holthouse said.
“Lauren would always yell at me and [our teammate] Bryan when we were playing football instead of preparing,” he joked.
Teams spent the week-long trip following a rigorous schedule. Members would get up to prepare at 4 a.m. every morning, start debating at 8 a.m. and continue working until around 10 p.m., when they would have dinner.
“We’d be hanging out with the Swedish team and we’d realize it was 2 a.m. and we still had to prep,” Lauren said. “It wasn’t easy, but it was so much fun that we didn’t care,” she said.
The team knew four of the eight topics before the trip, which included whether to shut down WikiLeaks and whether performance-enhancing drugs in sports should be legalized. They also received four additional topics an hour before the debate and had to plan arguments using only a dictionary and an almanac.
Lauren said that visiting Turkey was an “eye-opening experience,” and she hopes to attend future debate competitions abroad. Lauren said that she loves debate for too many reasons to count.
“I love how you have to be biased but completely unbiased at the same time. You have to be unbiased when you’re researching, but completely passionate when you’re actually debating,” she explained.
“[Debate] is a sport. It takes a lot out of you, but it’s so rewarding.”