Debaters of Woodgrove

Woodgrove’s 2022-2023 Speech and Debate Team is in full swing with their competitions. Despite the popularity of this extracurricular across the nation, many people often question: what is debate? Debate is a writing and public speaking activity that can be beneficial for college applications. Woodgrove Junior and Congress Captain Lily McBride says, “I believe that debate is important because you gain a lot of skills that otherwise would have taken a long time to master.”

Woodgrove Debate Team meets for their annual summer camp! Photo provided by Lily McBride.

     There are five different types of debate: Policy, Lincoln Douglas, Public Forum, Congress, and Speech. There are two sides: a “pro” side that agrees with the stated topic and a “con” side that disagrees. Within a certain amount of time, each team writes a speech supporting their side, as well as counterarguments to the opposition. To win the round, writing about the topic is not enough. The debaters must be able to completely understand both sides in order to get the mediator, the deciding person, to support their side. As teams continue to win, they move up with better competition and new topics, but less preparation time. 

     Two of the critical life skills are the top focuses in debate: writing and public speaking. For Congress debate, the requirement is to write one speech per topic. However, in policy debate, someone writes one speech and continuously strengthens that speech throughout the year. Both cultivate useful public speaking skills! “My public speaking skills have definitely improved because of debate. I have also gained more confidence and can speak more on the spot. This is especially helpful when talking to adults,” adds McBride.

     College admission officers love to see debate experience on a resume because it shows qualities of passion and commitment. It is known as one of the top extracurricular activities that impress colleges.

     There are multiple ways to join the Woodgrove team. In August, they have their first summer camp, and regular meetings happen every Tuesday and Wednesday after-school in room 407. Contact Mr. Greening, the debate advisor, at his email [email protected] with any questions. “Even if you are a little scared of joining, you can still come to our meetings and see how you like it. It’s not something that you have to be super committed to, which is nice,” said McBride. Make sure to follow Woodgrove Speech and Debate Team’s Instagram @woodgrovedebate! 

Sarah Putorti, Iza Piatowski, Jillian Lewis, Chelsea MacGuinnes, and Samantha Mare pose for a photo at their competition at Robinson Secondary School. Photo provided by Timothy Greening.