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Debate Club

InventInvent Posts: 521- Member
edited August 2010 in Prep School Admissions
Hi, I am a rising 8th grader. My school doesn't have a Debate Club. I am very interested in Debate and would like to start a Debate Club at my school. Please advise how does one go about starting a new Debate Club? Where can I find resources about Debate Clubs, i.e. topics for debate, format, info about debate competitions? I appreciate your inputs.

Which boarding schools have well-known debate teams and strong math (Olympiad) programs?
Post edited by Invent on

Replies to: Debate Club

  • 2010 hopeful2010 hopeful Posts: 2,040Registered User Senior Member
    Google is a good resource.

    I think Hotchkiss has an excellent debate team.
  • DiveAliveDiveAlive Posts: 1,734Registered User Senior Member
    ^ i second that. hotchkiss x 123429034820942

    for math olympiad.. i'm just going to assume Exeter, because its a math powerhouse :P

    for the rest of what youre looking for, i have no clue. as 2010 said, try google ^^
  • InventInvent Posts: 521- Member
    2010 hopeful and DiveAlive, Thank you for your inputs. :) I tried Google and the list is exhaustive. Mostly high school debate team info, not much about middle school level clubs. If someone has experience of starting a debate club in their middle school plus info about format, topics, etc. will be helpful.

    Are there any state, national level debate competitions to check the debate team performances of the boarding schools? Are there any math power houses that are smaller in size than Exeter? I'm looking preferably for a smaller, more intimate boarding school environment and feeling Exeter may be too large to build friendships.
  • 2010 hopeful2010 hopeful Posts: 2,040Registered User Senior Member
    The debate club at my high school just holds discussions for controversal issues such as abortion, legalizing marijuana, repealing don't ask don't tell, etc. . . It doesn't really have to be too structured. You just need a bunch of people who are willing to discuss different issues. The debate club people go around school and hang up posters saying something about an issue with pictures and encouraging people to come afterschool. You just have to find a teacher who will be your advisor and ask your guidance counselor or whoever, what forms you have to fill out to start a club. Good luck!

    I really don't know much about debate but if you want to see how a particular boarding school fairs in debate, just look under recent events or news from the past year on the school's website and sometimes you will see may headlines like "Debate club placed first at ____ and ____ competitions". Maybe someone else knows more about debate competitions?

    Most boarding schools have strong math programs so just find a school with the right environment for you and then research their math department and math club/team. I think it may even be better to go to a school that isn't a "math powerhouse" but just "average" so then you would stand out more in the math competitions at the school?
  • InventInvent Posts: 521- Member
    2010 hopeful, Thanks for the info. That is a great starting point. :) Is there any internal evaluation at your school? Does your school compete with other schools?

    Any more info on middle school Debate Clubs and strong math programs at BS, anyone?
  • Custardapple101Custardapple101 Posts: 774Registered User Member
    JSA-that's what our debate club is.
  • amoatzingamoatzing Posts: 1User Awaiting Email Confirmation New Member
    I'm not really sure about boarding school's, but if you are interested in starting a debate club at your school a really helpful site is National Junior Forensic League

    This site is an offshoot of the high school national forensics league, and on it you will find information regarding national tournaments and rules and info on official recognization.
  • bamagirl95bamagirl95 Posts: 523Registered User Member
    If you can't start one, look into joining the debate club at your local high school. Talk to their sponsor and see if you can come to a couple meetings. You might not be allowed to do competitions, but the experience would be good for you!
  • InventInvent Posts: 521- Member
    Wow, these are cool websites with a lot of info I needed, thank you all. :)
  • InventInvent Posts: 521- Member
    Any tips on improving debating skills? Are there any debate champs in the BS world that can help?
  • FahsanFahsan Posts: 12Registered User New Member
    Hi Invent.

    I'm a rising senior and I've been the captain of my forensics team for the last two years.

    As a rising 8th grader, look into the NJFL, as amoatzing suggested, and also try to contact surrounding high schools and their debate programs to see how their debate team works, what leagues they participate in, etc. I know plenty of current middle school debaters that have gotten help from neighboring high schools in terms of helping you practice, giving you coaching, helping write cases, and so forth. Ask for what leagues they participate in (as usually many schools participate in local, regional, or statewide division), and try to join them in debate competitions.

    Also, the IDEA program offers a middle school national debate championship. Although I don't know the particulars, you should Google it to find out. IDEA also gives a lot of good tips on how to establish debating clubs outside of high school.

    If you want to continue with your debate club/team in high school, I'd also recommend that you learn about high school debate. high school debate is very competitive and there is a large variety of events offered, such as policy debate (two two-person team debaters who argue a proposition of policy and whether it would be desirable to enact that policy, much like legislators do e.g. Whether we should send aid to impoverished countries) Lincoln-Douglas debate (two one-person debaters that argue over propositions of morality and value, e.g. if it is moral to kill), and public forum debate (which functions similarly to policy debate, but there are certain particulars to sort out). Of course, I've grossly simplified all of that, so you should also research the different kinds of high school policy, especially on nflonline.org (the National Forensic League for high school debaters).

    As well, look into attending a debate camp as a rising freshman. Most of the above mentioned forms of debate are debated at a rate faster than conversational speed, and debate become very complicated and theoretically convoluted as you advance as a debater. If you live on the west coast, I'd recommend attending the Victory Briefs Institute (VBI), which is held at Loyola Marymount University and UCLA in California. AS well, I'd recommend attending the Stanford National Forensic Institute (especially as a novice debater), the Cal National Debate Institute (CNDI), or the National Symposium for Debate at Colorado College. If you live on the East coast, I'd also recommend all the west camps if you have the ability to do so, but there are many camps, including NDF, Michigan, UNT Mean Green Workshops, the Colloquium for Debate, etc. These seem like a lot of choices, and really confusing right now, but it's a good way to start looking into your future as a debater.

    Debate is a really rewarding and beneficial activity, and I bet you'll really enjoy it! It has certainly enriched my high school career so far. If you have any more questions, feel free to PM me.

    Edit: + this is really useful as a how to guide: http://middleschooldebate.com/index.htm
  • InventInvent Posts: 521- Member
    Thank you Fahsan. This is awesome info. Working on it asap. :)
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