On Saturday, March 8 through March 9 Bellevue College’s very own speech and debate society competed against some of the Northwest’s best debaters in the Northwest Parliamentary Debate Championships. The debates ranged from novice and Junior Varsity to first and second year divisions.
“Recognizing excellence among young debaters,” the UW Bothell campus took in 16 debate entries, of which seven were in the novice division, three in JV and six in the first and second year divisions. Of the schools that were represented all but one was from Washington. Tournaments last for five rounds going for about an hour. Debaters don’t know their topic information until 20 minutes before the start of their debate. “From the time that the topic drops you have about 15 minutes to prepare,” explains Trey Jordan, member of the Debate Society.
There is no surefire way to be prepared unless you know the topic, and topics vary. “Topics range from policy issues, to domestic issues, to talking about women’s rights or social justice,” says Jordan. This makes it difficult but intensifies the competitive spirit.
That doesn’t stop our BC debaters however. “You can put up three to four sheets of argumentation on one topic, something that you might have not known about before and you’ll learn enough to write a whole paper,” says Jordan about his 20 minutes of prep time.
BC students made a statement in UW Bothell, taking home four awards. Third place in the novice division went to Trey Jordan and Gabrel Amara while first place in the same division went to Tyler Phillips and Aidan Moran.
Only having been a member for the past year, Trey Jordan and his teammate have qualified for nationals along with many other BC debate society members. “We have great coaches, and a strong sense of team,” explains Jordan, “we study the stuff hard and just because we’re new doesn’t mean that we can’t go all the way.”
Although he likes to win, that is not the reason that Jordan keeps coming back. “You learn a lot and have a competitive spirit at the same time and debate is great for that.”
The number of Debate Society members that go to tournaments varies from eight to 10 people, about four or five teams per tournament.
Overall, taking debate and going out for tournaments is believed to be a beneficial experience. “Even if English is not your first language debate is such a huge learning experience, not only do you learn the team working aspect of working with someone else and coming up with a game plan, but also the knowledge that you gain from the 20 minutes of preparation,” says Jordan.
Getting the experience is a great benefit, “not to mention there is the public speaking aspect and how that translates into the working world, teaching you to speak smoothly and articulately.”