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Middle School Debate Flourishes

 

Graphic by Gwen '16
Graphic by Gwen ’16

So far, the 2013-2014 school year has proven to be one of the best for Marlborough’s 7th and 8th Grade Debate team. The team of 21 students has done extraordinarily well, winning 13 awards thus far this season. Additionally, the team hosted its first home Speech and Debate tournament of the year on Feb. 22.

This year, the team was led by new Debate Program Head and history and social sciences instructor Adam Torson, who stated that his main goal for the year was to make the team’s preparation more efficient and thorough. “Instead of just preparing our initial arguments, we practice our public speaking and prepare to refute our opponent’s arguments,” Torson explained.

In its first tournament of the year, the Ridgecrest Intermediate School Debate Invitational, the team won a total of seven awards; Marlborough students received two team awards, four individual awards, and a sweepstakes award. As a team, Marlborough won second place in winning percentage and scored third place in total wins.

Torson is proud of the results of the team’s first competition together. “The team really performed well in our first Middle School tournament of the year. Coaching new debaters is fun—we have lots of bright and curious young minds,” Torson beamed.

At the Harvard-Westlake Middle School Debate Invitational, three of the five competing teams finished in the top ten. Since Marlborough’s team was about one-third of the size of most of the other teams competing, these victories were an excellent accomplishment. The three teams who placed in the top ten received awards for fifth place, sixth place, and eighth place. Individuals who received speaker awards placed seventh, fourteenth, and sixteenth out of 200 debaters.

The girls started preparing for the home tournament on Jan. 15, when they received the topics for the debates. The home tournament brought 130 competitors in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades to the Marlborough campus for 85 debate rounds and 40 total hours of speaking time. Topics included whether or not the Unites States should abolish the electoral college, whether the United States should lift the embargo on Cuba, and whether or not American cyber warfare does more harm than good.

At the home tournament, the team of Sophia ’19 and Amanda ’19 placed twelfth, and the team of Elissa ’18, Liv ’18, and Claire ’18 placed seventh. Additionally, Claire, Kate ’19 and Eliza ’19 were individually recognized with speaker awards.