The 2020-2021 Middle School debate season has officially ended! Our community has come together to deliver an amazing middle school season this year, virtually, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s middle school debate topic is police reform. It’s more important than ever for students in Minneapolis & St. Paul to have the opportunity to address this timely topic. Coach Eric Dahlberg has helped guide the debaters at Murray Middle School through this challenging year and complex topic.
Last week, we were able to hear from a few of the Murray Middle School debaters. Here’s what they had to say about their experiences in debate this season.
How did you get involved in debate?
Elsa: “Lilly was talking about it so I joined!”
Lilly: “My sister was in debate all throughout middle school and she said it was fun so I was just like, “what the heck! I’ll just do it.”
Lila: “I got involved in debate through Flipside. I thought it sounded fun and interesting!
January: “I also got involved through Flipside and I thought it would be interesting!”
Sylvia: “My mom suggested I do debate.”
How has your first year in debate been, although virtually?
Elsa: “It’s been pretty good! I don’t know what it is like in person, but it’s been pretty smooth.”
Lilly: “I think it’s been pretty normal. A couple of times things have glitched during a tournament, but other than that, things have been pretty normal doing things virtually.”
Lila: “Overall, virtual debate is good, but I don’t know what it’s like in person.”
January: “I like it virtually. I don’t think it’s as fun as in person, because of glitches and stuff. I would assume it is easier when your partner is by you and can just be like “here I read these pages” or “here are my notes.”
Have you found ways to make tournaments and team times fun, although virtually?
Elsa: “My partner and I do Google Meets while we’re on the tournament so that we can talk to each other.”
Lilly: “Elsa and I are on Google Meet so that we can talk strategy or show each other our rebuttals.”
Sylvia: “Yes! I talk to everybody.”
Robin: “Yes, spending time with my teammates, in general, has been special.”
What has surprised you about debate?
Elsa: “Something that is a bit surprising, is that there are many different ways to argue both sides.”
Lilly: “I didn’t realize that both sides had so many arguments in them so I thought that was cool. I liked all the points that you could make. You and your partner can continue building off of ideas.”
Lila: “I think it was cool that they still found a way to do the tournament and judge, even though it’s virtual. I was surprised by that.”
January: “Something surprising to me from debate is that the negative and affirmative arguments, at least for this topic, are kinda similar. At least how I argue it, if the affirmative takes the point of disarming will stop gun violence, I’m like… no it won’t, we need to fix the root problem. I’ve found the variants on arguments surprising.”
Robin: “That it truly can be difficult!”
What have you learned through debate?
Elsa: “I’ve learned a lot about this year’s topic, gun violence, and police brutality. I’ve also become a much faster speaker, especially if I’m reading something out loud.”
Lilly: “I have learned how to become a faster reader. For a while, I struggled with reading out loud, and I believe I have improved a lot through the year and now I speak faster and communicate my point a bit quicker.”
January: “I’ve also become a faster speaker.”
Lila: “I have learned a lot about police being armed and disarmed, police and civilians all have guns, and making ways to stop gun violence.”
Sylvia: “I’ve learned about the novice stuff!”
Robin: “It’s all about improving as you go.”
How was the championship experience?
Elsa: “I thought the championships were fun! I liked debating in them. I thought I probably could’ve won two instead of one, but I thought they were really good debates.”
Lilly: “It was really fun! It was a good experience debating against some of the top teams from each of the teams.”
January: “I had a lot of fun! I was debating with Lila and I was very excited to be her partner because she is a really great debater. I thought it was also fun to debate with a partner because I usually maverick.”
Lila: “I thought it was a really fun experience! We didn’t win all of the debates, but it was fun to debate with a partner and was overall a really great experience.”
Soon we will kick off our Spanish & East-African Debate seasons! Interested in being a judge? Head over to our sign-up page to learn more about how you can be a judge for our virtual debate seasons this spring!