Woodgrove Debate Team Finishes in the Top Five at Policy Tournament

By Maddie Doherty

Woodgrove Debate Team partners, juniors Nicholas Santos and Elijah Lewis, competed successfully at the George Mason Patriot High School Debate Tournament.  They placed 4th out of nearly 30 teams from eight different states at the tournament held on Friday and Saturday, January 4th and 5th.
“We won our first five rounds, then were defeated in the first elimination round,” said Santos.
Lewis and Santos, both new students this year, recently started a policy section of the debate team.  The team, sponsored by English and history teachers Ms. Purvis and Mr. Dunn, falls under the Junior State of America club subset.
“We meet after school and debate once or twice a month,” Lewis said.
Each year, a policy topic for all tournaments is assigned.  This year’s debates center around the question of whether or not the federal government should substantially increase transportation infrastructure.
“Last year’s topic was space exploration,” said Lewis.  “That is my favorite so far.”
According to Lewis, preparing for a debate tournament requires a lot of work.
“We practice our speeches and do a lot of research to build our case and get ready for the argument,” Santos said.
“It was a good week of staying up past midnight,” added Santos.
This was Santos’s fourth tournament.  Lewis dabbled in forensics and public forum before he began debating his freshman year at Broad Run, home of the state’s top-ranked debate team.
“My best debate experience was last year, when I won a tournament in Philadelphia,” Lewis said.

Though consuming, debate undoubtedly has its rewards. 
“Debate is important because of the value colleges place on it and the research and analytical skills you gain,” said Lewis.  “Now school research projects are easy.”
“The best part of Debate is definitely going to tournaments, after doing all of that work and all of the sleepless nights, you realize that you actually know your information,” Santos said.