Debate team concluding, ready for last competition

Nic Baggetto, Copy Editor

One of the longest lasting competitive extra-curricular activities, Debate, is coming to a close next week. After a season of steady improvement and deliberation, the students and coaches have reflected back on their successes and shortcomings.

Since their first meeting in the first week of school, the debate team has met every Monday and Wednesday to discuss and research bills for their argumentative endeavours. Members could also receive individual help from coaches on argument structure and refutations.

“Part of debate is being critical of yourself and knowing where you can improve,” head coach Matt Bohnenkamp said. “Pointing out where students can improve in a constructive way to help make them better is something that I try to do.”

Bohnenkamp believes his coaching method has helped new and returning debaters alike improve over the course of the school year. In fact, at one their most recent competitions, the Illinois Congressional Debate Association (ICDA) state tournament at Harper College, the team placed sixth out of 23 schools, marking their highest score of the year.

Several of their other successes from this season include: senior Mike Pauls being appointed to the all-state team (only 10 students in the state were selected), Ray Solorzano winning a best presiding officer award, and Layan Safi being nominated as best speaker in her chamber alongside Zach Wilson and Bahagvat Patel.

“Being the president of a public speaking team is one of the most challenging situations I have endured in my high school career,” Safi said. “Although, hard work always reaps benefit, and in this case it has profoundly changed the way I view communication with others, adaptability, and responsibility.”

“You really have to think fast,” Roman said. “When people question you really fast, you really have to go head on with it and tackle the question. I focus on thinking fast.”

The team is hoping to go out with a bang in their final competition during spring break.

“I think we have a number of students who have a good shot if they do their best of making it to the finals of IHSA state which would be a huge accomplishment,” Bohnenkamp said. “I’m hoping for a strong finish.”